WASHINGTON -- February 1 -- In light of four national networks refusing to air an advertisement opposed to President George Bush's medical malpractice proposal, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) today sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for a review of each networks' advocacy advertising policy.
The advertisement was sponsored by USAction, one of the nation's largest consumer advocacy organizations, and was scheduled by one network, NBC, to run in prime time just before the President's State of the Union address. NBC later reversed its decision to run the ad.
The ad features Dylan Malone, whose son Ian died on May 4, 2004 from injuries sustained at his birth. The message of the ad is that President Bush's medical malpractice proposals would deny justice to millions of innocent victims, such as Ian, who suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence.
This television advertisement was ultimately rejected by NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX, all four of which have policies regarding advocacy advertising.
"The reasoning behind these policies is an affront to our national history of free speech and open discourse. In effect, the networks, which broadcast for free over the nation's airways, refuse to air any ads they deem 'controversial,'" CREW wrote in its letter to the FCC.
"The network's decisions on which ads to run are inconsistent at best," Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. "For example, the networks have run ads advocating limits on asbestos lawsuits, and CBS ran an ad criticizing former President Bill Clinton's terrorism policies. CREW is simply asking that the FCC investigate the implementation of the networks' policies to ensure that each submitted ad is evaluated on the same set of criteria and not prejudiced by the administration's agenda."
A copy of CREW's complaint is available at http://www.citizensforethics.org or by contacting Naomi Seligman by phone at 202-588-5565 or email@example.com.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit, progressive legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.