Newsrooms generally cheer when their exclusives get picked up and credited by others. But in the case of a recent WMAQ-Channel 5 investigative report, the NBC-owned station isn’t happy about how it’s being used at all.
At issue is a 30-second commercial that began airing throughout Illinois Friday for Democratic Governor Pat Quinn in his campaign for reelection against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. The commercial excerpts an NBC 5 report about Rauner and includes the voice of political editor Carol Marin.
It’s based on a joint investigation by NBC 5 and the Sun-Times, reported by Marin, Don Moseley and Dave McKinney, into Rauner’s business practices. It quotes a deposition from a 2005 lawsuit filed by a former employee of one of Rauner’s companies.
Although NBC said it “strongly objects” to the use of its news content in a campaign commercial, the company has no legal power to block it. In a statement read on its 10 p.m. newscast Friday and posted on its website, NBC 5 said:
“Starting today, the Quinn campaign began airing a television commercial using a portion of an NBC 5 investigative report.
“The story was reported by our political editor Carol Marin. NBC 5 strongly objects to use of our material in a campaign ad, and we asked the Quinn campaign to not use it.
“NBC 5 is required by law to air campaign commercials bought by bona-fide candidates for public office so you will see it on our air.
“We want to make clear that this commercial is not an endorsement of Governor Quinn by Carol Marin or NBC 5. We will continue to work hard to make sure we cover both candidates for governor fairly and objectively.”
Here is the Quinn campaign commercial: