Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter last week to MSNBC President Phil Griffin asking that MSNBC stop airing an ad sponsored by the U.S. Citizens Association. The ad, which ran at least once on 8/27 during Morning Joe, violates FCC regulations and NBC’s ad policy, according to the announcement.
According to its website, the U.S. Citizens Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to, among other things, informing “the public on the fallacies of the information being spread by the liberal socialist organizations and the facts on capitalism versus socialism.” The ad, which can be viewed on the organization’s website (http://www.uscitizensassociation.com/USCA_tv.html) opposes healthcare reform and includes the following statements:
•Government can tax and print money, which will eliminate private healthcare and impose socialized medicine.
•You will wait months and years for treatment. Many people will not get treated at all.
•You will pay for free healthcare for over 20 million illegal aliens.
In its letter, CREW noted that some of the ad’s claims are ludicrous, for example, the U.S. has been taxing citizens and printing money for over 200 years, without any obvious impact on private healthcare. Other claims, such as that healthcare will be rationed and 20 million illegal aliens will receive free healthcare, have been debunked.
The FCC expects broadcasters not to air false or misleading ads and NBC requires a “reasonable basis for the claims” made by an advertiser and that claims “fall within the bounds of reasonable debate.” By airing U.S. Citizens Association’s ludicrous advertisement, MSNBC appears to have violated both FCC and NBC policy, said the CREW statement.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “The ad goes beyond misleading and well into delusional. There is no reasonable explanation for airing an ad that irrationally argues because the government can tax and print money, private healthcare will be eliminated. MSNBC should be embarrassed this one got through and pull it immediately.”
CREW is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.