Friday, March 17, 2006


The Clear Channel story hit the Inky:

One of the nation's largest billboard companies - and a generous contributor to political campaigns - has rejected a political ad because it didn't like the message. The subject: Money in politics.

The decision this week by Clear Channel Outdoor, the billboard arm of Clear Channel Communications Inc., places Democratic congressional candidate Lois Murphy in the same company as rapper 50 Cent, the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, and a labor union taking on Wal-Mart.

In recent months, all have had ads rejected by a billboard company.
According to the Murphy campaign, it tried to rent a Clear Channel billboard in Montgomery County to run an ad demanding that incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) return $30,000 in contributions from the political action committee of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R., Texas).

DeLay is facing trial in Texas on charges of money laundering, and Democrats are making congressional ethics and fund-raising a major issue in this year's campaigns.
Murphy's campaign claims Clear Channel backed out of the billboard deal only after it saw the text:

"Congressman Jim Gerlach, you are part of the problem in Washington. Return Tom DeLay's money."

Murphy's campaign spokesman, Mark Nevins, said that George Kauker, general manager of the company's Philadelphia division, told Murphy's campaign the ad was rejected because "it would make Jim Gerlach mad if he saw it."

In an interview, Kauker declined to discuss his conversation with the Murphy campaign, or why Clear Channel rejected the ad. "That's between me and the client, and I'm not going to discuss it."

He added, "The company policy is that we have the right to reject any copy, and it's at the discretion of the local general manager to facilitate that policy."

Murphy has an excellent chance of winning this race. I've donated to her campaign (and everyone listed at the ActBlue site) and I suggest others do the same. Her district's a tough one because it stretches between two media markets, one of them being the expensive Philly market.