Local stations have drawn a lot of flack this week for airing the graphic ads for Presidential candidate Randall Terry. Mr. Terry, a Democrat, is not on the ballot in Pennsylvania, but is in the state of West Virginia. At least two of the ads focus on Terry’s anti-abortion stance and one of them includes some disturbing photos of aborted fetuses. WTAE-TV (4), has aired a viewer discretion notice before these ads have run. Despite their best efforts though, WTAE has received the most complaints for airing these spots during prime news slots early in the morning and during the 5:00 p.m. hour. According to Terry’s ad campaign website, WPXI (11) (and PCNC), WPGH (53), and WPMY (22) have all opted to air the controversial ads during late night, or at least non prime time hours.
WTAE released a statement on Friday via the station’s website:
SPECIAL NOTICE FROM WTAE-TV ON CAMPAIGN ADS AIRING ON WTAE-TV CHANNEL 4:
As it relates to any federal office, we are obligated, by law, to provide the candidates time to advertise if they are a qualified candidate. The law does not allow for us to censor the ads or dictate the programming in which they can advertise. We have neither a position, nor an endorsement, of any candidate or subject group referred to in any advertisement related to campaigning for political office.
The time was bought by Randall Terry who is a legally qualified candidate for President of the United States in West Virginia. Because Mr. Terry is a federal candidate, and we serve parts of West Virginia, we are obligated by the law to make the time available to him.Here is a link to his campaign information:
Here is a contact link for the FCC if you would like to let them know about your concern:
We are running disclaimers to alert viewers, however, this may seem inadequate given the content of the ads. Please note, the ads will continue to air this week at approximately 6:10am, 5:45pm and 11:35pm.
We are following the law with respect to the airing of these commercials and hope this helps with some insight into this situation.