For Romney, NBC = Not Being Co-opted

As the GOP presidential primary campaign heats up in Florida, new ad from Mitt Romney (R-No More Mr. Nice Mitt) channels NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw circa 1997.  From Politico’s Morning Score:

ROMNEY’S NEW AD HIGHLIGHTS GINGRICH’S 1997 ETHICS VIOLATION: The 30-second spot is simply a clip of Tom Brokaw at the top of the January 21, 1997, NBC Nightly News. “Good evening. Newt Gingrich, who came to power, after all, preaching a higher standard in American politics, a man who brought down another Speaker on ethics accusations, tonight he has on his own record the judgment of his peers, Democrat and Republican alike,” Brokaw reports. “By an overwhelming vote, they found him guilty of ethics violations; they charged him a very large financial penalty, and they raised – several of them – raised serious questions about his future effectiveness.”

Said ad:


NBC, not surprisingly, is less than thrilled with this archival looting, so the network has issued a cease and desist request to the Romney campaign. From MSNBC’s First Read:

NBC News today is requesting that the Romney campaign remove NBC material from an ad that went up yesterday in Florida attacking Newt Gingrich for 1990s-era House ethics charges.

The ad prominently features then-NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw reporting in 1997 on the ethics charges at the top of the Nightly News broadcast that evening, Politico reported this morning.

“The NBC Legal Department has written a letter to the campaign asking for the removal of all NBC News material from their campaign ads,” said Lauren Kapp, NBC senior vice president for marketing and communications, in a statement.

Brokaw isn’t pleased either:

“I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad,” he said. “I do no want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”

At post time, the Romney campaign was claiming its appropriation of the newscast footage is “fair use.”

Expect NBC execs to disagree. Problem is, they have no mechanism at this point to squelch the ad.

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2 Responses to For Romney, NBC = Not Being Co-opted

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    It certainly does get into an interesting question of fair use. NBC and Brokaw can’t claim that it wasn’t said, and it wasn’t the entirety of the broadcast.

    They are going also to have to establish the economic value of the clip and how the use unlawfully deprives them of its fair market value.

    Finally, they are going to have to establish that the sponsoring organization gains, or can gain economic benefit from its use.

    Looks as if NBC has a long road to travel to establish what it needs to get to copyright infringement. Would make for interesting legal reading should it ever get to trial.

  2. Pingback: For Romney, NBC = New Broadcaster Complaints | Campaign Outsider

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