From Steven Waldman at the Columbia Journalism Review:
Local television stations have now rallied against the key elements of the Federal Communications Commission’s media transparency proposal, which would require broadcasters to move their “public inspection files” out of their filing cabinets and onto the Internet.
I described these proposals in detail here and here, but the surprising hostility from TV stations—news organizations—to this transparency plan raises a broader question: Do broadcasters believe that they even have “public interest obligations” anymore? Judging from some of the unintentionally hilarious comments they submitted to the FCC docket (more on that shortly), they enthusiastically embrace the concept as long as it remains completely devoid of meaning.
Surprising hostility? Not at all. Mainstream news media are owned by very large companies, and very large companies HATE transparency. This puts mainstream journalists in the odd position of demanding transparency from everyone -- except the folks who write their checks. Especially in the wake of the global economic meltdown, Big Media should lead the charge for corporate transparency. But it ain't gonna happen.