MSNBC Ad For New Website: Contribution-in-Kind To Wendy Davis?

When a network's ad—putatively for its own website—extensively features a candidate for office in a high-profile race, at what point does the ad constitute a contribution in kind to that politician's campaign?

The question arises in light of MSNBC's ad for its new website that aired on today's Morning Joe.  In the space of 30 seconds, the ad twice featured shots of Wendy Davis, the Dem candidate for Texas governor whose filibuster of a Texas law imposing restrictions on abortion made her an overnight liberal darling.  For good measure, the ad also displayed jubiliant crowd reaction to Davis's filibuster.   View the video after the jump.



The very theme of the ad, "Stand Up," borrows from Davis campaign themes, as she "stood up" for 13 hours during her filibuster, and her campaign slogan displayed during one clip is "Stand With Texas."  

MSNBC is unabashedly liberal. Fine. But does this ad take things one step too far, into the realm of serving as the arm of an active political campaign?

Note: It sounds like Chris Matthews on the voice-over. Oh, and the ad also extensively features another Dem politician.  This one's not running for office again, but he will be remembered as the man who inflicted Obamacare on the nation.

 

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.