Hundreds of outraged South Florida TV viewers have called or emailed network affiliates to complain about anti-abortion ads that have flooded the airwaves this week.
The ads, paid for by U.S. Congress hopeful and anti-abortion rabble-rouser Randall Terry, show scenes better suited for the grossest Halloween horror movies. They have aired in the middle of the night in most cases, but also at familiy-dinner time.
The images in four promos include what appear to be mangled human fetuses, tiny body parts and even a lifeless infant stuffed in a bloody plastic bucket.
The ads are more against President Barack Obama, deemed a baby-killer in one, than to promote Terry’s candidacy. He is running as an independent for U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings‘ seat in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
One of the videos features a woman having a sweaty nightmare about an abortion. She wakes up suddenly and says: “I can’t vote for Obama again!”
Those who vote for Obama or Hastings, Terry then says, will have “innocent blood” on their hands.
Click below to view the ad. WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC CONTENT!
With complaints from viewers coming fast and furious, TV managers say they’re legally forced to run Terry’s stuff.
“It’s a political ad from a legitimate candidate,” says longtime TV sales boss David Radliff, who recently left WSVN-Channel 7 for WDFS-Channel 33.
“I know he paid about $5,000 for WSVN to run that stuff overnight. I had to watch it to approve and it was tough. However, if we refuse to run his ads, he’ll sue! He’s probably hoping for someone to refuse.”
Radliff said it’s obvious Terry has little money to spend on the TV campaign but enough to spread the ads throughout the dial. Terry also managed to buy time in Sunday night’s Saints-Broncos NFL game and Saturday’s Georgia-Florida college game.
In West Palm Beach and along the Treasure Coast, WPEC-Channel 12 outraged viewers when it ran one of Terry’s ads during the 5 p.m. newscast Thursday and Friday.
Managers at the lowly-rated CBS affiliate ignored Gossip Extra‘s calls for comment but one of the station’s reporters said several hundred viewers complained and newsroom staff is grumbling about the ads!
“Something went wrong here,” the reporter said, asking to remain anonymous from fear of retaliation. “(Station officials) are supposed to review every political ad. They could have stuck it at 3 a.m.”
Readers posted comments on CBS12′s Facebook page, including this one: “I just saw an ad for Randall Terry and I can’t believe that you think it is ok to take the money and run this ad at this hour of the day or any other hour of the day. Small children are in homes that watch the news while their parents prepare meals and you show a hacked up fetus. How dare you! I am so beyond offended that I don’t even know what to do or say.”
Republican media buyer Alex Patton, whose job it is to buy air time for GOP candidates in Florida, said Terry follows the pattern of the outgunned candidate trying to run the most shocking footage to create a buzz.
“He’s getting 10 times the return on his TV investment from folks just talking about it,” Patton said.
Terry, who unsuccessfully tried to buy airtime for an ad during the Super Bowl, didn’t respond to an email requesting his comment.
Terry has made his mark on the abortion issue over the years. He’s been credited for the usage of plastic babies and fetus imagery in abortion clinic protests. He became a household name in Florida in 2003 during the Terry Schiavo right-to-die debate.