Calling the findings “stunning in their scope,” FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein called on the commission to immediately open investigations of television stations named in The Center for Media Democracy's (CMD) report for airing fake news.
He said the stations who violated FCC rules should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If the FCC determines that a licensee has violated the law, Adelstein said it might impose monetary fines of up to $32,500 per violation, and initiate license revocation proceedings. In addition, the failure to disclose is a crime, carrying a penalty of up to $10,000, and as much as one year imprisonment.
Adelstein is calling for the FCC to launch a rulemaking proceeding to clarify the obligations of all entities involved in the production and broadcast of VNRs.
He said voluntary industry guidelines and stern FCC warnings have failed to solve the problem, even in the wake of widespread and embarrassing disclosures in the press.
For more information, read "Fake TV news widespread and undisclosed."