Some campaign ads airing in the final push leading to the November election have many wanting to push the “off” button on the TV remote.
Now a candidate in the 27th Congressional race is putting television stations on notice over an ad airing for his opponent Kathy Hochul.
“Your station is hereby on notice that the advertisement makes false statements intended to deliberately deceive New York voters,” says the letter from Emilio Colaiacovo of Bouvier Partnership, LLP.
The letter goes on to say a lawsuit alleging “defamation, libel, and slander” will be filed against stations that air the ad.
The ad comes from a third party: the House Majority Political Action Committee. It attacks Chris Collins’ record with a company called Buffalo China.
As negative ads go, even in this divisive year, it pushes the envelope.
“Stretching the truth? Playing a political angle? It happens in all the ads,” says Chris Thomas, a free speech attorney. “But flat out lies don’t happen very often.”
Collins says that is what happened here.
13WHAM News was never presented with the PAC ad and has never aired it. Yet it makes some of the same claims as an ad you will see – paid for by Kathy Hochul.
“When Chris Collins took the place over he fired 115 people,” claims a man who says he was one of those laid off. “For the people lucky enough to stay, he cut their pay in half.”
115 workers did lose their jobs but they were fired by the original owners of Buffalo China, not Collins or his business partner.
So why is the Hochul version of the ad running?
It ends with, “I’m Kathy Hochul and I approved this message,”
While 13WHAM News has the duty to investigate the truth of third party ads, the opposite is true of candidates' ads. TV stations cannot refuse to air them.
But they can be fact checked as part of news coverage.
To learn more about what really happened with Chris Collins and Buffalo China you can check out my political blog. Click here.