To remind radio and TV stations in battleground markets of their right to reject deceptive outside group ads and to thank those that have been fact checking deceptive political content, FlackCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), will spend $40,000 airing a version of this radio ad (transcript below) across 10 battleground markets including Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH, Denver-Boulder, CO, Green Bay, WI, Las Vegas, NV, Madison, WI, Orlando, FL, Rochester, MN, Toledo, OH, and Washington, DC, APPC director Kathleen Hall Jamieson announced today.
“Historically the dirtiest ads appear in the last days of a campaign,” notes Jamieson who is the author of Packaging the Presidency and Dirty Politics. “In this final week, television and radio outlets that have benefited from unprecedented levels of political ad spending this year should increase their scrutiny of every non-candidate ad they are offered, rejecting those containing deceptions and protecting the public by using the power of their newsrooms to inform, contextualize, and debunk.”
Developed by FlackCheck.org’s Stand By Your Ad campaign, the ads are part of a final effort to remind broadcasters that they “are responsible for selecting the broadcast material that airs on their stations, including advertisements. The FCC expects broadcasters to be responsible to the community they serve and act with reasonable care to ensure that advertisements aired on their stations are not false or misleading” (www.fcc.gov).
In September, FlackCheck.org sent a step-by-step brochure and video guide to fact checking on the air and online, available here, to every TV station in the nation. It regularly emails its log of fact checking of third-party ad deceptions to the stations in battleground markets. To date, viewers have sent more than 40,000 emails to station managers from the FlackCheck.org “Email Your Stations” page urging them to insist on the accuracy of the third-party ads they choose to air and to include fact-checking stories in their news broadcasts.
Stations singled out for thanks for their on-air fact checking include: CBS 4 (KCNC), NBC 9 (KUSA), and ABC 7 (KMGH) in Denver, CO; 8 News (KLAS) in Las Vegas, NV; CBS 3 (WISC-TV) and NBC15 (WMTV) in Madison, WI; NBC 11 (WESH) and ABC 9 (WFTV) in Orlando, FL; CBS 11 (WTOL) and NBC 24 (WNWO) in Toledo, OH; and NBC 4 (WRC-TV) and CBS 9 (WUSA) in Washington, DC.
Transcript of the 60-Second APPC Radio Ad:
VO1: October 1938: living rooms invaded, War of the Worlds, a radio hoax.
[SFX: shrieking, zapping, chaos]
VO1: October 2012: An actual invasion, deceptive third-party ads. Location: Washington, DC.
VO2: What can we do?
VO1: Broadcast stations have the right to reject deceptive ads by outside political groups.
VO2: They don’t have to air them at all.
VO1: But are they?
VO2: In their newscasts and online they can expose the deceptions.
[SFX: montage of stations doing fact checking]
VO1: But are they?
VO2: If they are, thank them by going to FlackCheck.org.
[Station mention goes here]
VO2: For help in finding the facts, go to FlackCheck.org.
VO3: This message brought to you by FlackCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and not by some anonymous group whose donors and agenda are undisclosed.
FlackCheck.org is funded by grants from the Annenberg Foundation and the Democracy Fund of the Omidyar Network (ON).
Download this press release as a PDF file.