NYC: Fox 5 Rejects Democrat's TV Spot

Typically, it seems that my local Fox affiliate is pretty independent from the national Fox News conservative message machine. After all, we are in the famously liberal New York City metropolitan area. Of course, when there are breaking national news stories, Fox 5 runs Fox News, but that's to be expected.

That's what makes this story so shocking. Openly gay Democratic candidate for Manhattan Borough President Brian Ellner made news last week by announcing that he would be featuring his partner in a television ad, just as many politicians prominently feature their spouses. The Fox affiliate in the city, WNYW Fox 5, has refused to run the ad.

Interestingly, his campaign isn't claiming that Fox's problem with the ad is that it features Ellner and his partner. Rather, their charge is that Fox rejected the ad for being critical of President Bush.

But Fox 5 pulled out of the deal after it saw the 30-second ad, which features Bush's head superimposed onto a bare torso as the voiceover intones, "He claims he's a uniter, but New Yorkers know the emperor has no clothes."
. . .
Ellner said Fox told the campaign media adviser and the ad buyer that the spot was refused because it was "disrespectful to the office of the president."

WNYW Fox 5 spokeswoman Brandii Toby said, "We're not running the ad." But she said the station had no comment on why the decision was made or who was responsible for it.

Ellner's campaign is considering taking the matter to the FCC, which seems to me the absolute right course of action. While I have my questions as to why Ellner is campaigning against Bush in the Borough President primary, he's certainly well within his rights to do so. And Fox 5 has some serious questions to answer. There are really only one of two reasons they would refuse to air this ad -- homophobia or partisan conservatism. And neither is a big sell in the NYC market.

Tags: Media (all tags)



the ad is irrelevant
I saw the ad and wondered why Ellner was running against Bush myself.  

The Manhattan BP is pretty much a powerless role.  I wouldnt be surprised if this ad was devised specifically to stir this kind of controversy and garner attention.

by dayspring 2005-09-07 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: the ad is irrelevant
by bruh21 2005-09-07 01:18PM | 0 recs
There aren't only two reasons.  I don't know if it's true or not, but it's possible that they thought it was inappropriate for a commercial to show the head of a president on a naked body.  I'd have to actually see the commercial to see if that is the case.  Now you can agree or disagree with whether such an image should be refused airing or not, but a reasonable person could think it wasn't appropriate without being homophobic or partisan.

If the ad was refused simply because it showed the candidate with his partner or simply because it criticizes Bush, that of course is unacceptable, and Fox 5 should get reamed for it.  

But I don't understand why you say there's only two reasons; it's a conclusary statement that's not necessarily true.  

I watch local Fox 5 in NYC sometimes and can't say that I've ever seen any evidence of it being homophobic or partisan.  If anything, like the city itself, it may have the garden variety slight left lean.

As a side note, not a reason for or against airing the commercial, but why does a candidate for Manhattan Borough Prez attack Bush in his ad?  What does that have to do with the office he is running for?  It reminds me of Reps running for state and local offices in Southern states doing montages of their opponents with Ted Kennedy.  A bit lame, imo, and kind of appeals to the lowest common denominator.

by alhill 2005-09-07 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: well
I saw the ad last night on LOGO- have they changed it since then?
by bruh21 2005-09-07 01:17PM | 0 recs
Because the resources that
comes to New York City are still not fully coming to the city because of our Bumbler-N-Chief- that's why national issues may play on the Manhattan stage. Also, Manhattan is ANTI-BUSH. Over on 14th Union Square I can count the demostratiosn weekly.
by bruh21 2005-09-07 01:16PM | 0 recs
Just saw the ad
It shows Bush on a naked body, but only from the waist up.  It's a pretty dumb ad, but it doesn't seem to me to be close to worthy of a banning.  
Nonetheless, I bet you that Fox's reason, at least publicly, was the portrayal of Bush (ostenibly) naked. The partner is shown for no more than a second, and the candidate merely puts his arm around him as they face the camera.

I've never seen any evidence that the Local Fox affiliate was alligned politically with FOX News Corp, but I do think after seeing the ad that the refusal to air it is peculiar.

by alhill 2005-09-07 01:37PM | 0 recs
Maybe Ellner can spend the money he saves on something that makes a little more sense.  Because the ad is awful.  I respect Ellner's choice to run ads that feature "Simon," but it's got to be the worst ad outside of that strange "hold your breath" spot running against Morganthau (DA race).

Ellner will lose to Moskowitz (right?).  I mean, she's got Hilary behind her and she's well organized.

But who knows.  Maybe this Fox move will get Ellner (and Simon) some free exposure and a few more votes in the primaries.  And the MBP race is definitely more interesting than the Bloomberg love fest.   The Dem candidates for Mayor could even make John Kerry look exciting.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2005-09-07 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah...
I think Moskowitz sucks but that she'll win because all the good candidates, Lopez, Stringer, Perkins, and yes, Ellner, will split the votes between them.

ah well...

We need run-off voting.

by dayspring 2005-09-07 02:05PM | 0 recs
What is this "office of the president"?
And why is Ellner being accused of being disrespectful toward it? I saw this ad last week on cable, and I thought it was amusing and pointed. It seems to me that those are two important things in getting noticed in a media-saturated environment. The FCC -- and, I should add, the FEC -- should look into this. What if Kerry were told in 2004 he couldn't run ads for his campaign because they were "disrespectful to the office of the president"? It's a different case, but I am fairly sure the issue is the same: in political campaigns, broadcasters can't refuse to run an ad because they don't like the message. I hope Ellner is successful in getting this ad aired.
by sublingual 2005-09-07 02:01PM | 0 recs
A station can't do that
A station can reject issue ads, and cable networks can reject everything, but stations can not reject ads by canidates. It's against FCC rules, and can be grounds to remove a license from a station.
by Geotpf 2005-09-07 02:06PM | 0 recs
Many local stations have been somewhat to very independent, at least editorially, from FNC and the News Corp. But recently, as part of the fallout of Lachan Murdoch's departure from News Corp, Ailes was promoted from President of FNC to head of all Fox stations as well.

As for being disrespectful to the office of the President, I agree that any image showing George Bush is disrespectful of the office. Because Bush himself is disrespectful of the office.

by desmoulins 2005-09-07 10:04PM | 0 recs


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