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NASA slams nets for misinformation

A coalition of network affiliates seeking to FCC help in ending what they say are abuses by the Big Four nets, said Wednesday their opponents are misstating and exaggerating their claims, in hope of making them appear ridiculous.

The coalition, the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance, was particularly miffed after the networks scoffed that NASA implied the current state of the affiliation relationship puts the financial viability of stations at risk. The real issue, NASA said in replies filed with the FCC, is local control and diversity of programming. "The networks do not want to apply existing law, but to change it," NASA said.

The group contends that the nets have repeatedly broken FCC rules by denying affiliates the right to reject programming, interfering with station sales and forcing affiliates to cede much of the extra programming capacity that will be generated by the switch to digital transmissions.

The networks counter that NASA members only recognize their rights vis-a-vis the networks without ceding any reciprocal responsibility in the relationship. - Bill McConnell