Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is the bloom off the rose at Fox News?

I read a very interesting article today at Conservatives4Palin. Sheya wrote a great piece titled: With Friends Like Fox News Palin Is Better Off With Her Enemies. As much as I'd like to agree with Sheya, I have some nagging concerns.

My primary concern is in regards to the equal time rules in broadcasting.
This provision of the 1934 Communications Act (section 315) "requires radio and television stations and cable systems which originate their own programming to treat legally qualified political candidates equally when it comes to selling or giving away air time."

If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any political office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station.

"Legally qualified" means, in part, that a person be a declared candidate. Timing of the announcement that someone is running for office is important because it triggers the equal time rule.
Fox News may be walking a very fine line in this regard. Including Sarah Palin in their online polls regarding the Republican nomination might be construed as an acknowledgement that she is a candidate.

I suspect that Fox News is currently in the same position as Sarah Palin's many supporters in that they are being forced to tread water until Sarah make a formal announcement about her plans. I would further surmise that once she does, her relationship with Fox News will improve considerably, although without a contractual arrangement between the two.

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