Broadcast stations are increasingly subject to anti-advertising campaigns these days. That’s when a candidate’s organization demands that advertising from a third party group, such as one of the 527 organizations, puts something on the airwaves that the candidate believes deviates from or distorts the truth. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, even ads from venerable, well-connected committees, including the four run direct from Capitol Hill, are being attacked. The theory is that advertising purchased directly by candidates, with their stand-by-your-ad snippet appended, almost has to run. But that isn’t true for third party ads, so candidates who don’t like the message can attempt to bully stations into refusing to run them. WSJ notes that most often the strategy doesn’t succeed at all, and when it does it’s only for a short time while a station considers the material and generally runs with it over all objections.
RBR/TVBR observation: As we reported earlier, Ted Stevens (R-AK) has threatened lawsuits when he doesn’t like advertising being run against him. Whether he has any intention to go that far is unknown, but at least in making the threat he gets his point out there. It is unfair to expect broadcasters to become a truth squad, and if an ad is taken down at the request of one side, it invites action from the other. In most cases, we believe it is best to take the cash and run the ad.