Monday, February 6, 2012

FCC Whistles Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad Offsides; Terry to Appeal WMAQ-TV Ruling

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 01:  Official sign...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeAnti-abortion zealot and putative Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry plans to appeal a Feb. 3 FCC ruling that spiked his effort to compel Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV to air a pro-life ad featuring images of aborted fetuses during last night's Super Bowl XLVI telecast.

According to Website accounts on Mediaite, Politico and the informative, Terry's ad, which ran in several states, was rejected by the Chicago station (brings a tear to the eye of "TUOL," a former Chicago denizen). In In re Complaint of Randall Terry v. WMAQ-TV Chicago (FCC Decision No. DA 12-145), the FCC rejected Terry's argument that because he is a candidate challenging President Barack Obama for the right to head the 2012 Democratic Party presidential ticket, the NBC affiliate had to run his ad pursuant to Sections 312(a)(7) and 315 of the Communications Act.

Section 312 mandates "reasonable access" for a "legally qualified candidate" to  stations, meaning  broadcast outlets must sell ad time to a candidate, while Section 315 allows a "legally qualified candidate" equal opportunity to use broadcast facilities. In its ruling, released last Friday at 5 p.m., the FCC found Terry failed to make a substantial showing that he was a viable Democratic candidate in the state of Illinois seeking the presidency. Additionally, the agency noted that even if Terry were a "legally qualified candidate," he couldn't dictate that his ad run during the Super Bowl (which Mass.-based "TUOL" cedes was won by the NY Giants).

The Super Bowl is a one-time special program, so opposing candidates would not have had equal opportunity to have their ads run during the telecast if Terry's commercial had aired, which would have violated the Communications Act. That Terry purportedly made only two campaign appearances in Illinois and that he lacked evidence that literature boosting him had been distributed in the state bolstered the FCC decision that Terry had not campaigned in a substantial portion of the state, a prerequisite under past FCC decisions. Additionally, the Democratic National Committee fired off a letter to the agency decrying Terry and arguing he was not a "bona fide Democratic candidate." Candidates "do not have the right to air ads whenever they want," the FCC ruling noted.

Although Terry did not appear during the football game's commercial breaks, Careerbuilders did roll out another chimpanzee-in-a-suit-and-tie commercial and there were plenty of other inane, vulgar and crass ads to satisfy his followers.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment