Why Nolan Ad Continues to Run while DFL Ad Dropped
WDIO has received a number of inquiries regarding the station's decision to pull a Minnesota DFL ad.
Much of the confusion comes from the fact that there are two separate ads making similar statements about Rep. Chip Cravaack's residency. A DFL ad questioning Cravaack's residency is no longer airing on WDIO, while a Nolan for Congress ad making a similar statement continues to run due to a federal law prohibiting TV stations from censoring ads from the candidates themselves.
The commercial which WDIO management chose to pull was placed by the Minnesota DFL party and is considered a third party advertisement – not coordinated with any candidate committee. WDIO received a letter from the Craavack campaign claiming that the commercial contains false information. WDIO then pulled the ad until the DFL could send supporting documentation or provide a replacement ad. Under law, the station does have the right to question and remove third party advertising placed by non-candidate agencies.
This leads to the commercial that continues to air, the Nolan for Congress candidate commercial showing Rick Nolan driving a truck and speaking about Cravaack. This commercial was placed by a legally qualified candidate and the station is prohibited from censoring or removing this commercial from the air. Even though the candidate commercial makes the same claim as the third party commercial, federal law prohibits WDIO from pulling the candidate ad.
Even if political analysts give the "Nolan" commercial an "F" as shown in the news "truth test" airing on WDIO and KSTP, the station cannot pull it. It is protected under the law as free speech, prohibiting censorship.