WMAQ Report Used for Governor Pat Quinn’s Re-Election Campaign Ad

By Aneya Fernando 

With the midterm elections just a few weeks away, local stations are being bombarded with political ads. Chicago’s WMAQ is no exception, but the NBC-owned station is unhappy about it for a very specific reason.

On Friday, a new 30-second commercial began airing throughout Illinois for Governor Pat Quinn (D) in his re-election campaign against challenger Bruce Rauner (R). The ad uses excerpts from a WMAQ report about Rauner and includes the voice of political editor Carol Marin.

Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that the excerpt is based on a joint investigation by WMAQ and the Chicago Sun-Times, reported by Marin, Don Moseley and Dave McKinney, which delved into Rauner’s business practices. 

WMAQ said it ‘strongly objects’ to the use of its news content in a political ad, but the station has no legal power to block it. The following statement was read on-air (and appeared online) last Friday at 10:00 p.m.:

“Starting today, the Quinn campaign began airing a television commercial using a portion of an NBC 5 investigative report.

“The story was reported by our political editor Carol Marin.  NBC 5 strongly objects to use of our material in a campaign ad, and we asked the Quinn campaign to not use it.

“NBC 5 is required by law to air campaign commercials bought by bona-fide candidates for public office so you will see it on our air.

“We want to make clear that this commercial is not an endorsement of Governor Quinn by Carol Marin or NBC 5.  We will continue to work hard to make sure we cover both candidates for governor fairly and objectively.”

You can watch the aforementioned ad above.