Demand an End to False Radio Ads


Target: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler

Goal: Demand that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prevent radio stations from airing advertisements that are provably false

A political ad falsely claiming that the Obama administration’s new carbon pollution regulations will drastically raise people’s energy bills has been airing on 23 radio stations in the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The ad has been thoroughly debunked by independent researchers, and was awarded a damning “four pinocchios” by the Washington Post Fact Checker blog, stating that the contention was “wholly unsupported.”

The ad, which claims that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants will increase the price of electricity by 80 percent, was paid for by the National Mining Association. The claim is based on a statement made by Department of Energy officials to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The officials had stated that the wholesale cost of energy would increase 70-80 percent under a “full recapture” scenario, which is exactly why the EPA rejected the full capture scenario and instead proposed a carbon capture rate of closer to 50 percent.

The claim also ignores the fact that the wholesale cost is not the same thing as the retail price, and the fact that most utility companies draw their electricity from a wide range of sources, making the coal plants only a fraction of their total cost of energy. The Washington Post Fact Checker column concluded by saying, “This is a case study of how a trade group takes a snippet of congressional testimony and twists it out of proportion for political purposes.”

A letter has been sent to the FCC, signed by more than a dozen national and state organizations, urging them to investigate all 23 radio stations that are continuing to play the ads. The letter states, in part, that “the FCC has advised broadcasters that they are ‘to be responsible to the community they serve and act with reasonable care to ensure that advertisements aired on their stations are not false or misleading.’ We request that the FCC investigate whether the radio stations running this misleading advertisement are properly serving their communities.” Sign this petition to add your voice to this important campaign.


Dear Mr. Wheeler,

I am writing to you in support of the letter sent to the FCC by the National Resources Defense Council and others, requesting an investigation into the provably false and highly misleading radio ad that is being run by the National Mining Association.

The FCC has an obligation to address issues brought by the public against public broadcast licensees. Please see that it fulfills this obligation by demanding that radio stations no longer broadcast this incredibly misleading ad.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: johnpwarren via openclipart

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