$115,000 consent decree for questionable “Special Reports” on Las Vegas TV station
The fake news business appears to have been booming in 2009 – at least as far as we can tell from a couple of FCC enforcement actions. Last February we reported on a $44K fine issued to a Chicago radio station for airing, in 2009, a number of bought-and-paid-for announcements gussied up to sound like newscasts. And now the Enforcement Bureau has announced a consent decree with a Las Vegas TV licensee, the terms of which call for payment of a $115,000 “civil penalty” for the broadcast of some 2009 “Special Reports” that (a) looked a lot like news but (b) were apparently bought-and-paid-for as well.
Don’t let the fact that it took the Bureau five years to lower the boom on these stations distract you: that just demonstrates that the current Commission intends to enforce the sponsorship identification rules aggressively, regardless of when the violations may have occurred.
The sponsorship ID rule (Section 73.1212) is mandated by Section 317 of the Communications Act, which requires that broadcasters identify whoever is paying for the broadcast of any matter. To that end, Section 73.1212 requires that stations “fully and fairly disclose the true identity” of anybody paying to have any particular content broadcast.
Precisely what the Vegas station (KTNV-TV) did is not clear from the consent decree, which summarizes the violations only as follows:Continue Reading...