New York Times complains to Gingrich campaign about ad with Globe reporter

Politico | Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
New York Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty says the company is sending Newt Gingrich’s campaign and a super PAC backing him its objections to their use of a video clip of Boston Globe reporter Scott Helman. During an interview, Helman said of GOP nominee frontrunner Mitt Romney, “I certainly think that there is reason to question, if you are looking at who he is politically, what he really is inside,” Helman says.

“The ad takes a quote from a Globe reporter, who recently co-authored a book on Romney, out of context,” McNulty says. Earlier this week, NBC News and Tom Brokaw objected to the Romney campaign’s use of video from the former anchor’s “Nightly News” broadcast. Keach Hagey reports on the emerging practice:

To be sure, negative ads have long quoted news headlines, columnists and newspaper endorsements. But using video clips of anchors or other journalists doing their jobs on the scale being done this year is new. The reason is two-fold: journalists are more likely to appear in negative ads than positive ones, and the level of negativity is new.

Not all journalists mind the attention, though. BuzzFeed’s work has appeared in at least four ads, and Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith’s only objection was this: “It was mildly annoying of them to block out the BuzzFeed logo, but obviously their prerogative.”

Related: Journalists covering the political conventions can call a new 24-hour hotline if they are arrested doing their job. “More than 40 journalists were arrested in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention” in 2008, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

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