NBC News President Steve Capus earlier this week urged both major presidential campaigns to stop using network news footage in their campaign ads, calling the practice “unfair” to reporters and citizens and “just lazy.”
Accepting the Edward R. Murrow award for Overall Excellence for NBC News on Monday, Capus said President Obama and Mitt Romney should “do a better job of telling their own story.”
“In this election cycle, we have seen the campaigns take advantage of and misrepresent journalists in their advertisements, pulling short soundbites and, in some cases, taking that reporting out of context for the sake of driving a different message,” Capus said in his remarks. “NBC News has dealt with this issue with both candidates, and this has to stop.”
Last week, as Politico reports, NBC sent the Obama campaign a letter, asking it to stop using footage of Andrea Mitchell in an ad targeting Romney. Mitchell herself on Monday told viewers of her MSNBC show that the campaigns don’t have permission to use the network’s footage. The issue arose in January, too, when NBC and Tom Brokaw objected to the Romney campaign’s use of footage of the veteran newsman from 1997 in an ad targeting Newt Gingrich. Campaign representatives did not return TPM’s requests for comment.
“I know that campaigns want to be associated with Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams in their commercials, but let’s be honest” Capus added in his remarks. “That’s good company, but those folks are journalists and they do not endorse this message. Tonight, while I’m among all of my colleagues and acquaintances, I’d encourage all of you to join us in this effort to ask the campaigns to stop — respectfully — ask them to stop using news material in their advertising.”
Watch Capus’ speech, via Poynter (relevant comments about 4 minutes in):
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com