The Republican Party of Illinois has condemned one of its own for running a radio ad suggesting the candidate’s Republican opponent is gay .
Candidate Andy Martin‘s defense is particularly stunning:
Martin says his ad is based on a “solid rumor on the Internet,” CBS 2 reports. The attack is the latest of many over-the-top claims from Martin, yet WBBM Newsradio 780 is required to run the ad because it cannot censor political advertising.
A “solid rumor on the Internet”?
Martin knows something about Internet rumors. He started the “Obama is a Muslim” rumor on the Internet.
Back to the radio ad. Why can politicians get on the air and assassinate a person’s character on the basis only of an “Internet rumor?” Because politicians changed the law in 1978. Under a 1971 law, radio stations were given the the responsibility for determining when a political commercial was unacceptable. That was taken away in 1978, despite objections by broadcasters that it was an unwarranted government intrusion. Now, radio stations can lose their license for refusing to air a commercial like Martin’s.
Former presidential candidate Barry Commoner exploited the law two years later by purchasing political ads for his campaign that started with an obscenity.