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Free Press: Political Spots Would ‘Pollute' Public Broadcasting - Broadcasting & Cable

Free Press: Political Spots Would ‘Pollute' Public Broadcasting

Argues that carrying misleading/negative ads doesn't keep the 'original vision of noncom broadcasting' intact
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Noncommercial TV and radio stations, most of which
have been hit hard in the pledge department by the down economy, now have the
potential to rake in millions from political ads a federal appeals court has
freed them to accept.

That
is just what Free Press is afraid of. "Polluting public broadcasting with
misleading and negative political ads is not in keeping with the original
vision of noncommercial broadcasting," said Free Press President Craig
Aaron. "And it's certainly not the solution to funding public media."

"At
a time when people are turning to public broadcasting to get away from the
flood of nasty attack ads, viewers don't want to see Sesame Street being brought to them
by shadowy Super PACs," he said.

"APTS is currently reviewing the Ninth Circuit opinion on this case and its ramifications for public television stations," said the Association of Public Television Stations in a statement. "We will comment after a full review."

Noncoms
can currently air funding credits, which have morphed from names and logos to
mini-plugs, and can air ads so long as they are not paid for them, or paid ads
for nonprofits, but they have been barred from carrying commercial spots or
political or issue ads.

The
Ninth Circuit Thursday ruled that while the commercial spot was still in the
government interest of preserving the niche nature of public broadcasting, the
political speech restriction was not.

The
National Association of Broadcasters has yet to weigh in on the potential new
competition for ads from the partially government-funded medium. It was
reviewing the decision late Thursday.

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