FCC looking into Iraq War coverage
An FCC spokesman confirmed Monday that the commission has asked for information from TV military analysts concerning their possible role in a Department of Defense program to recruit ex-military officers to express support for the Iraq war and other Bush administration policies.
"The [FCC] is looking into the allegations and has sent letters," said the spokesman, who said he did not know how many letters had been sent out.
The commission was asked by some legislators to looks into whether TV stations or networks bear any responsibility for not identifying the analyst's connection to the Pentagon or defense contractors.
U.S. News & World Report said it had obtained a copy of a letter from the FCC to one of the pundits. The FCC declined to make public the letters that were sent in connection with the inquiry.
The Wall Street Journal adds:
The FCC's rules prohibit broadcasters and employees who prepare shows from accepting money, goods or services in exchange for on-air promotion without disclosing that arrangement to viewers or listeners.
Radio broadcasters have mostly run afoul of the FCC's payola rules over the years, but last October, the agency proposed combined fines of $76,000 to two broadcast companies for not telling viewers that columnist Armstrong Williams had received money from the Department of Education in exchange for promoting the No Child Left Behind Act on his shows and other programs.