TV networks claim the right to reject issue ads on controversial topics, but are they arbitrarily choosing what to air and what to reject?
An activist group is asking the FCC to investigate each network's policy on advocacy advertising. "The network's decisions on which ads to run are inconsistent at best," complains Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.
Sloan’s group raised the alarm after NBC reversed its decision to air an ad opposing President Bush's plan to limit victims’ awards in medical malpractice suits.
The advertisement was sponsored by USAction, a consumer advocacy organization, and was scheduled to run on NBC minutes before the President's State of the Union address last week. NBC later reversed its decision to run the ad. The ad was previously rejected by ABC, CBS and FOX, according to USAction.
The ad features Dylan Malone, whose son Ian died from injuries sustained at birth. Malone warns that President Bush's plan to limit medical malpractice damages would deny restitution to millions of deserving victims.
Although the networks say they reject all controversial issue ads, CREW argues only spots likely to get stations in hot water with the White House are turned down. CREW points out the nets have run ads advocating White House –backed ideas such as limits on asbestos lawsuits.