FROM THE NEWS DIRECTOR: WAVE 3 News asks Senate candidates to stop using news clips in commercials

Published: Oct. 22, 2014 at 9:31 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2014 at 5:00 AM EST
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By Bill Shory

WAVE 3 News Director

Since this year's campaign for U.S. Senate began, we've been bombarded by TV commercials. And, partially because WAVE 3 News has made a concerted effort to present expanded political coverage this year, many of those commercials have featured clips from our newscasts. The problem is that while the clips did come directly from our newscasts, they were always shown out of context, missing any kind of balance or perspective. A casual viewing could lead viewers to believe we were taking sides in the campaign. And that's exactly what happened.

Beginning with the Republican primary, we've gotten dozens of complaints about these commercials, and those complaints have picked up after one particular ad hit the air recently. There seems to be so much confusion out there that we decided it's important for us to explain publicly what's going on. So here's the story:

WAVE 3 News does not endorse any candidate for political office, and we work hard to be balanced in our coverage. We believe that showing clips from our newscast outside their full context does a disservice to our station, to our journalists, and, most importantly, the voters of the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, Federal election law doesn't give us a lot of options. If a commercial comes directly from a candidate's campaign (the ones that include the line "I approved this message"), it has special protection under the law. We can't edit it, and we can't even refuse it. We have to let the campaign buy time to run it on our air.

So we're trying a different approach. Yesterday, I sent letters to both the McConnell and Grimes campaigns. You can read them


. We asked both campaigns to stop using clips from our newscasts, and start presenting "all facts, statements, and coverage truthfully and in the proper context." While the McConnell campaign did say they'd review the letter, neither side has responded to our request. We'll keep you up to date on that. In the mean time, we won't tie ourselves in knots trying to avoid landing in the next campaign commercial. We'll just continue doing our best to bring you thorough, fair, and objective coverage and this and every campaign.

Let me know what you think at


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