Tuesday, June 21, 2005

When is an Ad not an Ad?

When it airs on PBS, according to Paul Farhi's Washington Post article Public Broadcasters Air Ads Against Federal Cutback.

What's wrong with this picture?

1. Public broadcasting isn't supposed to air ads;

2. Public broadcasting stations are prohibited by law from airing "calls to action" -- yet reportedly that is exactly what these ads do;

3. Public broadcasting must by law treat all matters of public controversy with "balance and objectivity"--yet these call to action ads are only giving one side of the issue.

Let alone the legal constraints on lobbying Congress resulting from campaign finance reform laws. So, if anyone had an interest in investigating public broadcasting in this regard, it probably would reveal a number of legal and financial scandals (ads cost money), some of which might result in Elliot Spitzer-like prosecutions, even some RICO provisions might apply.

Put Big Bird behind bars! (But I fear he might have more "protection" than Martha Stewart...)