The reason false political ads are allowed to run on TV stations

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — NBC2 recently rated an attack ad against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist as mostly false because a majority of the claims in the ad were proven to be untrue.

Since then, numerous viewers asked why we continue to run an ad that wasn’t completely accurate.

Many viewers asked that we pull the ad from the airwaves however that would be illegal.

According to the Communications Act of 1934 signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, politicians have the right to use those airwaves no matter how controversial their ads may be.

FGCU Political Science Professor Dr. Sandra Pavelka pointed out that broadcasters cannot discriminate or discredit any legally qualified candidate from advertising pointing to the 1934 legislation signed into law.

Simply put, over-the-air TV stations do not have a choice.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of negative ads and a lot of misleading ads or unfactual ads,” Dr. Pavelka stressed.

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Political Consultant Dennis Pearlman who helps politicians run their campaigns said sometimes people go to various lengths of stretching the truth in order to get elected.

“Negative campaigning works,” Pearlman stated.

National Sales Manager for Waterman Broadcasting Kevin Henry also pointed out that TV stations cannot change or edit a candidate’s ad.

Henry also pointed out politicians get these ads for bargain basement prices.

“It is a federal law that TV stations provide the lowest unit rate for all legally qualified candidates,” Henry said.

It’s important to note the 1934 law does not apply to social media companies or cable networks like Fox or CNN.  They don’t use public airwaves and they weren’t around in the 1930s.

They have the power to reject or remove misleading ads.  The bottom line: over-the-air stations legally do not have the right to reject any political ad from a candidate.

Tags: Governor Ron DeSantisgovernor’s racepolitical ad

 

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