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TV ratings critics get rebuked

March 17, 2005 at 6:45 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, March 17 (UPI) -- Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., urged their Congressional colleagues to avoid pushing a TV ratings plan that "could possibly damage the accuracy of the ratings system."

The lawmakers addressed their concerns in a letter released Thursday after a week-long effort by "Don't Count Us Out," an advocacy group lobbying for Congressional oversight of Nielsen Media Research. The group contends that Nielsen's status as an "unregulated monopoly" and its audience surveillance technologies disproportionately undercount minority viewers, which they say affects network executives' advertising and programming decisions.

Burton and Jackson's letter questioned the use of taxpayer dollars for regulatory efforts to contest Nielsen, saying the issue "should be debated in the boardroom and not in the halls of Congress." The response comes a week after a bipartisan group of 22 lawmakers asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the issue.

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