With South Florida TV viewers complaining about extremely graphic political ads running on network affiliates, Gossip Extra has obtained the official answer from one TV executive to an outraged man subjected to images of an abortion in prime-time!
It’s another story broken by Gossip Extra this weekend: U.S. Congress hopeful Randall Terry has flooded network affiliates in the Miami and West Palm Beach areas with paid ads showing dead fetuses and baby body parts — scenes that TV censors would no doubt cut out of prime-time crime series.
Terry, by the way, is an anti-abortion crusader running as an independent against incumbent U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
All station officials reached by Gossip Extra have declined to comment or simply ignored our attempts.
So one reader agreed to share the lengthy response he received to his strong objection from Bob Leider, general manager of the Fox affiliate WSVN-Channel 7 in Miami:
On a personal level, I share your views about the advertisement.
Unfortunately, my personal views do not override federal law.
We consulted thoroughly with our legal counsel, who also consulted with staff of the Federal Communications Commission, about this advertisement.
As was made clear to us, Mr. Terry is a candidate for Congress, according to the Florida Division of Elections, which list him as “Qualified” as a candidate for United States House of Representatives in Florida’s District 20. Please see: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/CanList.asp
Under federal statutory law, television and radio broadcast stations are required to accept advertisements from candidates for federal office, and in addition, under federal statutory law, broadcast stations are prohibited from censoring the content of advertisements of federal candidates for office.
In short, our hands were tied legally.
Under these circumstances, the law required us to run Mr. Terry’s ad without censoring it at all.
We preceded the ad with a warning to our viewers, which was the most that we were allowed to do.
Sincerely Bob Leider
Well, SoFla, do you believe Leider — or are the TV stations laying down before a fringe candidate and playing dead?