NAB irked by Ornstein

WASHINGTON — The National Assn. of Broadcasters has once again written Vice President Gore to complain about the appointment of Washington pundit Norman Ornstein to a commission charged with drawing up public interest guidelines in the digital age.

The NAB has been complaining about Ornstein, currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, since he was nominated last month. The NAB claims that it was surprised by Ornstein’s nomination because the think-tanker publicly supports a plan to make broadcasters give free time to political candidates.

NAB shock

“Our surprise turned to shock this week when Mr. Ornstein lent his name to a million-dollar political advertising program, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, expressly designed to convince Congress to adopt (the free airtime) proposal,” the NAB said in a statement.

What the NAB does not mention in its letter to the Vice President is that Ornstein’s co-chair on the commission is CBS Entertainment president Leslie Moonves. One broadcast lobbyist said Thursday that Moonves does not count because he is a representative of “Hollywood production companies” and therefore is not “a real broadcaster.”

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