Charlotte Reporter Looks at Why Politicians Use Local News Clips in Campaign Ads

By Kevin Eck 


After his news reports appeared in ads for North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R) and incumbent Kay Hagan (D), WCNC reporter Stuart Watson said he got tired of having people ask him if he “approved this message.” He asked a local expert about the practice of using news clips from local TV stations without permission.

Turns out, no permission is needed. But a local expert told the reporter for the Charlotte, N.C. NBC affiliate, the candidates are trying to bask in the reflected glow of a local station’s credibility.

So why DO campaigns use news clips? Why don’t they just hire better looking actors?

“It is an attempt to lend some credibility to the accusations the candidates and their campaigns are trying to make,” said Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer.

Does the deluge of TV ads even make a difference?

“I think for the average voter it’s probably just a wash,” Bitzer said. “They have already muted that particular ad.”

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