A CFR expert expands and clarifies on what Steve said earlier:
At the risk of being a total technical weenie, Steve is sort of right, but not completely. There are people out there who say we should not extend the press exemption to the contribution and expenditure limits to corporations that fail some “bona fide” test. But, the Commission doesn’t use that requirement in the analysis. What [is looked at is] whether the newspaper, periodical or whatever is bona fide. That is, you can’t print one big campaign related magazine and get a pass on that being regulated as an expenditure. But – non media companies can benefit, and have been excluded from the expenditure regulations when as a part of their ongoing activities they publish a magazine – Sam’s Club most recently, for an article they ran on Elizabeth Dole. I also know that an in-flight magazine published by an airline was exempted (someone complained about a puff piece on a Senator that appeared there).
So, NR can say whatever it wants about politicians in its magazine. If it operated a TV station, it could incorporate whatever it wanted to say into its news, opinion and commentary – tho I think the FCC has other requirements of licensees that relate in this area. It is a closer question whether NR can buy a TV ad to promote the magazine, in which it bashes Dean.