Back in August of last year, consumer advocate Ralph Nader sent an open letter to the FCC questioning GM's relationship to conservative radio and TV talk show hosts. At the time, GM said it didn't pay cash money to these pundits for favorable mentions; it simply provided free test cars and facility tours (all expenses-paid, presumably). Oh, and advertising. Lots and lots of advertising. Nader correctly pointed-out that "Section 47 U.S.C. § 317, requires broadcasters to disclose to their listeners or viewers if matter has been aired in exchange for money, services or other valuable consideration. Section 47 U.S.C. § 508, requires that, when anyone provides or promises to provide money, services or other consideration to someone to include program matter in a broadcast, that fact must be disclosed in advance of the broadcast, ultimately to the station over which the matter is to be aired." Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh talked-up his forthcoming free ride, the Saturn Astra. Apparently, it's "the most popular executive car in Europe." Rush gushed "We love GM." Last night, one of Sean Hannity's liberal guests (Fox's Hannity & Colmes) was touting the value of green technology (as opposed to drilling for oil) in America's quest for energy independence. "I know about new technology. I'm driving a Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid" Hannity said. It's high time the FCC put an end to this craven commercialization. Or, to call it by its real name, payola.
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