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article imageABC, NBC refuse to air ad critical of Democratic health care plan

By Patrick McMahon     Aug 27, 2009 in Politics
ABC and NBC are refusing to air an ad from a group opposed to the Democratic healthcare reform efforts, according to the group behind the ad. The League of American voters is sponsoring the 33 second ad and is criticizing the decision.
The ad features a neurosurgeon who states that the public option in a reform plan would lead to the rationing of healthcare procedures and prescription medicines. So far CBS will run the ad and FOX is currently in talks to do so, but the national networks of ABC and NBC said no. They said that their local affiliates can run the ad, but NBC is unsure of the facts in the commercial and ABC has labeled it "partisan." The group has purchased ad time from local affiliates in Maine, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas.
Bob Adams, the Executive Director for the League of American Voters, said that their ad is quite powerful in influencing people. "It tells the truth and it really highlights one of the biggest vulnerabilities and problems with this proposed legislation, which is it rations health care and disproportionately will decimate the quality of health care for seniors," he says.
NBC has said that it will reconsider the ad if the points behind it are verified further, but ABC says it is their policy not to air political ads. Despite that, Adams objects to the label that the ad is partisan. "It's a position that we would argue a vast majority of Americans stand behind," he said. "Obviously, it's a message that ABC and the Obama administration haven't received yet."
This is not the first time that ABC has been in hot water with conservative groups that wish to buy ad time. Just weeks ago, opponents of the Democratic healthcare reform efforts attempted to purchase ad time during the hour long prime time special that the network gave President Obama to promote healthcare reform legislation, but were denied by ABC.
"It's the ultimate act of chutzpah because ABC is the network that turned itself over completely to Obama for a daylong propaganda fest about health care reform," said Dick Morris, former adviser to President Bill Clinton and strategist for the League of American Voters. "For them to be pious and say they will not accept advertising on health care shuts their viewers out from any possible understanding of both sides of this issue."
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