FCC: Chicago Station Doesn’t Have to Air Anti-Abortion Ad During Super Bowl

The FCC’s media bureau ruled today that WMAQ-TV in Chicago could reject an anti-abortion ad that a pro-life group wanted to air during the Super Bowl.

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who said he is a candidate for Democratic nomination for president, filed a complaint against the station after it refused to run the spot. The twist is that he filed the complaint under rules requiring that stations sell advertising time to candidates if they can make a “substantial showng” that they are legally qualified.

The FCC noted that the Democratic National Committee deemed that Terry was not a “bona fide” candidate. His anti-abortion ad, featuring a rather menacing depiction of President Obama, is probably not in sync with the party platform. And among other things, Terry refers to the party as the “Democrat Party,” which is not only grammatically incorrect, among many on the left it is seen as pejorative phrasing.

The media bureau also found that WMAQ only had to provide “reasonable access” to candidates — and the Super Bowl marks an exception.

“Terry  requested time on a highly rated program that occurs only once annually—in this case typically the highest rated program of the year—and it may well be impossible, given the station’s limited spot inventory for that broadcast, including the pre-game and post-game shows, to provide reasonable access to all eligible federal candidates who request time during that broadcast,” the bureau’s William Lake wrote.

Terry’s ad spot is here.