NBC tells Romney campaign to stop running ad with footage of Tom Brokaw
The Associated Press | Politico | The Washington Post
NBC says the ad, made up almost entirely of video from a 1997 NBC News broadcast reporting on Newt Gingrich's reprimand by the U.S. House of Representatives on ethics charges, was used without permission and implies that NBC is supporting Romney. "I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign," Tom Brokaw says in a statement released by NBC. A campaign spokesman says the campaign doesn't plan to pull the commercial, arguing that the use of the video falls under fair use; Ken Paulson of the First Amendment Center agrees. Politico's Josh Gerstein reports that federal law and FCC regulations require TV stations to run all ads or none, so even stations owned and operated by NBC must run the ad unless the Romney campaign pulls it.
The Washington Post's Erik Wemple suggests that we look at the ad as a new standard of truth-telling in political advertising -- using Brokaw as a new Mr. Clean:
From now on, in order to level a hit on your political opponent, you are required to dig up footage of Tom Brokaw reciting your talking points. If you cannot find an instance in which Brokaw pronounced on the matter, it’s an illegitimate ad.
Related: "Mr. Romney’s aides say they can get a sense of where a story is headed before it is published simply by reading reporters’ Twitter messages." (The New York Times) | John Heilemann says the press is rooting for Newt Gingrich and will keep him on life support if he loses Florida's primary Tuesday (New York magazine)