Cash vs. Conscience

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  Columbia Journalism Review:In Ohio, a Spotlight on Super PAC Ads

Earlier this month in Ohio, super PACs supporting the Republican presidential candidates dumped $4 million dollars on ad campaigns (mostly negative) in Ohio, a likely swing state in November. The race to win in Ohio — which Mitt Romney did by .8 percentage points, narrowly beating Santorum — was all the more important because, as T.C. Brown notes in his article, no Republican “has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.

“It’s also no surprise, in today’s world of down-and-dirty politics, that amidst this ad deluge Ohioans have been subjected to some deceptive claims. What might actually be surprising is that while TV stations are generally obligated to accept ads from candidates for public office, they can refuse to air misleading ads from Super PACs and other third-party groups.

Enter “Stand By Your Ad,” an effort — recently launched by, a sister site to Annenberg Public Policy Center’s well-known — to push back against deceptive third-party ads.

The “Stand By” campaign has been issuing regular reminders on its website that TV stations “can and should refuse misleading super PAC ads,” and can insist on changes to those ads, and exhorting viewers in local markets to urge their stations to exercise those rights. Two of the posts … singled out ads that aired in Ohio.” Read more »

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