The appearance of Super PAC’s in the presidential race amounts to a virtual repeal of campaign finance limits in federal elections, and many have noticed that Super PAC ads seem to more brazenly distort the truth than candidate ads.
But Kathleen Hall Jamison of the Annenberg Public Policy Center has seized upon a wrinkle in broadcast regulations to develop a tool aimed at taking down the worst of the Super PAC ads – or at least embarrassing TV stations that are making money from them.
It seems TV stations have to accept ads from presidential candidates pretty much regardless of content. But they have more discretion when it comes to ads from independent groups – and the Super PAC’s are legally independent of the candidates they promote.
Jamison has developed a program called Stand By Your Ad, in which they suggest viewers of stations running a load of reprehensible crap on the air let broadcasters know what they think. Viewers go the webiste called FlackCheck.org (the sister site of FactCheck.org) and look for the Stand By Your Ad icon.
There they can email a form letter the Center has prepared to tell a station they can, and should insist on accuracy when considering political ads from independent groups. The email notes that last October, several stations refused to air an ad from a group called “Building a Better Ohio” because they found it to be deceptive.
Will it work? We won’t know until we try, Jamison told Brooke Gladstone in this week’s edition of WNYC’s On The Media.
“If the biggest, most reputable station said, `we’re going to insist on accuracy’ the advertiser would have to change, because the advertiser needs the audience,” Jamison said.
You can find to the On the Media Segment on Stand by Your Ad here.