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Viewer complaints have prompted Baton Rouge, La. ABC affiliate WBRZ to pull a political ad that looked like a station newscast.
“The intentions are obvious in this situation,” said WBRZ gm Rocky Daboval. “The call letters on the ad reference a fake television station ‘WBRD’ but are too similar to call letters of our station, WBRZ. In addition, the graphics used in the ad are nearly identical to the ones used on WBRZ News 2 broadcasts.”
WBRZ said viewers complained about the ad on facebook. The spot talks about legal troubles faced by school district incumbent Carolyn Hill. It was produced by a group that supports Hill’s only opponent.
“I did not look at it because it was so disheartening [from] what I’ve heard,” Hill told WBRZ. “So, I did not want to put that negativity into my spirit.”
Here’s a side by side comparison:
The group behind the ad provided the following statement:
“The voters deserve to know the track record of their elected officials. It’s public record that Carolyn Hill has a bench warrant out for her arrest and a history of unlawful and irresponsible behavior. Our TV commercial factually presents Ms. Hill’s recklessness while serving on the BESE board. Our ad is accurate, carefully sourced and contains information every voter deserves to know. BESE members should be role models and Ms. Hill has been an embarrassment to our entire education system.
Other TV stations requested modifications and changes to the ad, which we happily respected and fulfilled. Our intent was to ensure that voters know the very serious and reckless behavior of Carolyn Hill. Had WBRZ made any requests or changes, we would have certainly respected and complied.”
Carolyn Hill also made a statement about the campaign ad.
“I have been a dedicated servant and leader for K-12 education in this state. It’s unfortunate that Super PACS and special interest groups with a desire to privatize and control education in Louisiana have resorted to negative attacks against my character in an effort to remove me from BESE. I’m very proud of my record and I’m confident that my constituents in District 8 will not allow these divisive tactics to impact their vote. I will forever remain committed to our teachers, kids, and communities, relentlessly advocating for the best education policies in this state.”