Yesterday, an ad backed by a coalition of liberal groups that paints City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn as duplicitous and with ties to big business premiered on NY1, MSNBC, and Cablevision. Today, an outraged Quinn decried the attack ad as false, and her legal team contacted Time Warner Cable to have the ads removed.
“Although opponents of a candidate often resort to fanciful broadsides (as with the cigar smoke permeating this ad), facts must not be fabricated or distorted. In addition to the funders of the ad, broadcasters have a responsibility to ensure accuracy and fairness,” wrote Quinn’s attorney to TWC, which owns NY1. “Your station need not air the subject ad. If you choose to do so, however your station bears responsibility for its content.”
What’s the upshot for Quinn’s camp here? There’s almost no chance the networks will pull the ads, which make vague attacks on Quinn but make no specific, incorrect claims about her legislative history. You could chalk it up to flexing her muscles, but asking the networks to pull the spots only makes Quinn look anti-free-speech–not to mention out of touch with the liberal base, just like the ad alleges she is. And by threatening legal action, she’s only giving the claims against her more legs by turning them into a story.
For now, Time Warner isn’t budging. They’ve asked NYC Is Not For Sale, the group behind the ad, “to provide, without delay, substantiation supporting the claims contained in the spot as they have the right and opportunity to defend your client’s challenge and request to take their spot off the air. The NYC is Not for Sale spot will continue to air as ordered unless we arrive at a decision to act otherwise.”