NBC and MSNBC are none too happy with an Obama campaign spot which imagines a future, as announced by the networks’ anchors, where John McCain has won the November election. The ad mashes up and manipulates actual footage of Tom Brokaw and Keith Olbermann to make it look as though McCain has won, then calls on watchers to register to vote and stop that from coming a reality.
According to a report in Broadcasting & Cable which details the chain of events, NBC sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign as well as a takedown notice to YouTube, after which the ad was taken down but then reposted with a YouTube annotation overlaid that says “NBC and MSNBC did not cooperate in the making of this video.” And just after 10:45 a.m. PST this morning, the ad was taken down and replaced with a notice about a copyright claim by NBC.
Before the ad was pulled down, NBC told B&C it isn’t satisfied with the Obama campaign’s response.
“We have received some pushback from [the campaign]. We have engaged the Obama campaign on the legal front and demanded that they stop using the ad,” NBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust said. “To date, they have not complied. Their response was to put a tag line at the end of the ad.”
As of about 10:45 a.m., right before we were about to post this story, the video had nearly 600,000 views after being embedded on The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and elsewhere. We asked the Obama campaign for comment and will update when we hear back.
It has become regular practice to place spots on the web, where they generate attention for free, with little or no intent to pay to show them on TV. Both campaigns are pushing the limits with these edgier, off-the-cuff ads. McCain’s campaign has previously gotten in trouble with Warner Music Group for unauthorized use of the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” in an anti-Obama ad, with CBS for using a snippet of a quote by Katie Couric about sexism, and with Fox News for using one of its correspondent’s voices in a clip about the financial crisis. The campaign disputed Fox’s claim but the ad is no longer on its YouTube account. The previous offending clips can be seen in ripped versions here, here, and here, respectively.