Amid complaints and concerns, fake TV news report ad pulled from airwaves
BATON ROUGE - A political ad was pulled from the airwaves amid concerns the ad was deceiving to viewers.
"The intentions are obvious in this situation. The call letters on the ad reference a fake television station 'WBRD' but are too similar to call letters of our station, WBRZ. In addition, the graphics used in the ad are nearly identical to the ones used on WBRZ News 2 broadcasts," WBRZ General Manager Rocky Daboval said in a statement Friday.
Above, WBRZ anchor Michael Marsh presents a story during a newscast in March. Seen on the right side of the screen is the WBRZ logo.
The ad, produced for an education advocacy group, Stand for Children Louisiana, appears to be a news report outlining legal troubles faced by the incumbent BESE District 8 Representative, Carolyn Hill. The ad does not support a candidate, but the group endorsed Jada Lewis. Lewis is Hill's lone opponent in the race that will be decided Saturday.
Above, the ad depicts an anchor reporting on a politician seeking re-election. On the right side of the screen is the fake logo of fake TV station 'WBRD.'
"These ads are third-party ads that I have no control over," Lewis said in an interview Friday evening with WBRZ reporter Mark Armstrong.
On Facebook, WBRZ viewers have complained the ad looks too much like a real news report.
"Shame on you for airing the deceptive WBRL [sic] BESE political ad posing as news," a Facebook user commented.
Hill said the ad is factually incorrect and said the production was upsetting.
"I did not look at it because it was so disheartening [from] what I've heard. So, I did not want to put that negativity into my spirit," Hill said in a phone interview.
The group behind the ad provided the following statement:
"The voters deserve to know the track record of their elected officials. It’s public record that Carolyn Hill has a bench warrant out for her arrest and a history of unlawful and irresponsible behavior. Our TV commercial factually presents Ms. Hill’s recklessness while serving on the BESE board. Our ad is accurate, carefully sourced and contains information every voter deserves to know. BESE members should be role models and Ms. Hill has been an embarrassment to our entire education system.
Other TV stations requested modifications and changes to the ad, which we happily respected and fulfilled. Our intent was to ensure that voters know the very serious and reckless behavior of Carolyn Hill. Had WBRZ made any requests or changes, we would have certainly respected and complied.”
Carolyn Hill also made a statement about the campaign ad.
"I have been a dedicated servant and leader for K-12 education in this state. It's unfortunate that Super PACS and special interest groups with a desire to privatize and control education in Louisiana have resorted to negative attacks against my character in an effort to remove me from BESE. I'm very proud of my record and I'm confident that my constituents in District 8 will not allow these divisive tactics to impact their vote. I will forever remain committed to our teachers, kids, and communities, relentlessly advocating for the best education policies in this state."
News Two has not been able to independently verify whether a warrant has been filed for Hill.
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