NBC Reverses Decision on Freedom's Watch Ads

Network Runs Ads Thanking Troops During Meet the Press

NBC changed its ad-policy guidelines on issue advertising over the weekend and ran an ad from Freedom's Watch, a conservative group that was thanking the troops for their service.

NBC initially declined to run the ads, citing its policy against running controversial political ads and pointing to a link in the ad to the group's Web site.

"We have reviewed and changed our ad-standards guidelines and made the decision that our policy will apply to content only and not to a referenced Web site," the network said. "Based on these amended standards, the Freedom's Watch ad began airing Sunday (during Meet the Press)."

In a statement, Freedom's Watch president Bradley Blakeman said the group was glad that NBC "ultimately decided to do the right thing … Thanking our troops is not a political statement -- it is a patriotic one."

NBC approved the "thanking troops content," according to a source, but concluded that the link to the conservative site -- which billed itself as a "perpetual political operation" promoting conservative public policy -- turned the ad into an issue ad that the network has a policy against running. It will now look at associated Web sites on a case-by-case basis.

The Freedom's Watch ads are also scheduled to run on MSNBC and CNBC through Dec. 21.