Sirius and XM Satellite Radio have informed the FCC via an Exparte filing about the Washington Post article that exposes the National Association of Broadcasters as using pop-up advertisements to solicit the names and addresses of people, and using that data to generate thousands of Anti-Merger comments on the FCC website.
The National Association of Broadcasters came under fire in the piece because most of those that were contacted regarding their FCC comment had no idea that their name and address was used in a public filing to the FCC. The post placed 60 telephone calls and were able to reach 10 people. Of those 10, only one stated that they were aware that a letter was going to the FCC. Some of those that the Post contacted were actually Pro Merger, and some expressed that they had no real opinion on the matter.
The NAB was on a fishing expedition. Their goal was not to solicit the TRUE OPINION of the public, but rather only to send in the opinions that matched their agenda. Throughout their campaign, not one single letter was submitted to the FCC that reflected a positive opinion on the merger.
The NAB's campaign was designed, worded and implemented with one specific Anti Merger goal. If a consumer did not click the right button, their opinion was negated, and never forwarded to the FCC. The goal was to stack the deck, not to measure the true opinion of the public.
Some have indicated that this campaign by the FCC was not only an abuse of system, but an abuse, and perhaps fraud against those that unknowingly participated. The comment process of the FCC was intended to gather public opinion regarding issues that are before the commission. Lobbying to get comments submitted is one thing. Sorting and sifting those comments prior to submission is another. In contrast Sirius and XM have both developed websites that tell their side of the issue, and allow consumers to make a comment to the FCC and legislators. However, Sirius and XM do not sort out the comments prior to submission, and in fact, regardless of your opinion, your comment can be filed. The practice employed by Sirius and XM on their sites allows you to generate your own thoughts in your own words with regard to the merger, and the person making the comments is fully aware that these comments are being delivered to the FCC.
In my opinion, the National Association of Broadcasters stepped way out of bounds in their pop-up ad campaign and in the process victimized thousands of citizens. It is good to see that Sirius and XM are taking steps to ensure that the FCC is aware of exactly what transpired.
If you have an opinion on the merger, or feel strongly about this pop-up ad and form letter campaign you can let the FCC and the legislators know by visiting SiriusMerger.com or XMMerger.com. Both sites allow you an easy way to let your opinion be heard.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM