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In Public Records Fight, Are Reporters And Their Publishers On Opposite Sides?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, March 28 2012

The Columbia Journalism Review's Steven Waldman notes that a fight over proposed rules that would put records online showing who's paying for local TV ads — including political campaigns — is putting news organizations on one side of the table and their reporters on the other:

Amazingly, the same news organizations that routinely demand transparency from government—and rely on the prompt disclosure of public information for their stories—are opposing the rule.

For instance, Politico regularly runs articles about campaign spending. Yet one of the strongest opponents of this transparency rule is Politico’s owner, Allbritton Communications Company (which also owns in WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, and several other local TV stations.) Jerald Fritz, vice president of Allbritton, argues that putting these forms online is a slippery slope toward a “Soviet-style standardization” of how ads are sold.