Stations across the country are under increasing pressure to drop controversial ads from third-party interest groups, reports the Wall Street Journal. Some $3 billion is expected to be spent on political advertising this year, says WSJ, much of it from special interest ’527′ groups, such as the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth that attempted to torpedo John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004.
The political money comes at a cost for stations, says reporter Sarah McBride, who hear from lawyers complaining that some ads are "factually incorrect and a gross distortion of the real facts."
While no one tracks the number of legal notices broadcasters receive on political ads, station managers and lawyers say attempts to block ads are growing both in number and intensity, particularly in states with closely contested elections. "If you’re these affiliates, you’re under siege," says Michael Toner, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and now an attorney at Bryan Cave LLC in Washington.
WRAL.com reports that Sinclair Broadcasting refused to run an ad from a Republican-leaning interest group that was critical of the Democratic hopeful for governor in North Carolina.