Watch CBS News

Reality Check: Why TV Stations Are Running Grisly Political Ads

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Many of you let us know you didn't like the political ads you saw from an obscure Democratic Congressional candidate named Gary Boisclair.

The ads targeted 5th District Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, and featured graphic images with extreme language.

What you may NOT know is that TV stations are legally required to run them.

And after examining one of them, Reality Check found that about the only thing accurate in the ad is the first line: "Congressman Ellison swore an oath to the constitution on a Koran."

That's TRUE.

Ellison put his hand on the actual Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

But the remainder of the ad is a textbook example of political exaggeration, distortion and fear.

Part of Boisclair's anti-abortion, Tea Party strategy is his opposition to Muslim representation.

Boisclair told to reporters, "When a man who pretends to uphold the Constitution while he puts his hand on a different system of law-- Sharia law-- there's a problem there."
Here's what you NEED TO KNOW.

Boisclair doesn't live in Minnesota.

He lives in West Virginia, and describes himself on his website with the followings: "Pro-Life, Tea-Party Activist, Society For Truth & Justice, Washington DC."

He's exploiting a loophole in election law that forces television stations to air extreme messages.

IN FACT, The Federal Communications Commission requires TV stations to air political ads from federal candidates -- no exceptions.

It's the law.

Even if the ads are deceptive, false or extraordinarily graphic.

However, television stations can reject ads from non-candidate groups, like Super PACs.

Activists like Boisclair are registering as official "fake" candidates. They don't expect to win, but they are forcing the media to air their shocking, in-your-face commercials.

Boisclair's Minnesota ad states:

"The Koran says Christians and Jews are blasphemers, who should have their hands and feet cut off, and that they should be crucified and killed. Do you really want someone representing you who swears an oath on a Koran? A book that undermines our constitution and says you should be killed?"

That is FALSE.

Islamic scholars say the Koran does not order the death of non-Muslims. Moreover, the Koran commands Muslims to obey the law of the land in which they live.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.