Candidacy/advertising rights dispute under review


Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry says he is a bona fide Democratic candidate for President of the United States, and afforded all of the legal rights that accompany that status. The Democratic Party says he is not a candidate recognized by their Party. The matter is now under review by officials at the FCC.

Here are the broad outlines of the dispute: Terry believes his status as a candidate affords him the right to require licensees to broadcast his advertisements when he wants them to run and free of any editing or censorship; his opponents believe he is gaming the system in order to gain the right to run the unedited advertising.

We have published the legal views of communications attorney Gregg Skall of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC and also material from Terry who argues that airing his ads is required.

Four articles which have appeared in this publication to date on the topic are available: An article on an attempt by Gloria Allred to stop the ads; two viewpoints on the law from Skall (here and here); and an article on the response from Terry.

RBR-TVBR observation: Let this serve as a general reminder. RBR-TVBR is a print publication, not a broadcasting publication – our mission is to write about broadcasting. We are not considered a scarce resource under the law, and we are not bound to provide equal access to anybody for any reason. RBR-TVBR strives for excellent journalism and to be fair.

In pursuit of that goal, we will not turn our virtual pages into a forum for continued argument between advocates. The venues for settlement of this issue include the FCC and the judicial system.

If and when the FCC issues a ruling on this matter, we’ll report it. And if we have an opinion, we’ll state it, in accordance with our own First Amendment rights.