Last updated: September 29, 2008 - 9:11pm
Savannah Guthrie filed a hard-hitting report on NBC's "Nightly News" recently questioning the truth of some McCain-Palin campaign statements on the "bridge to nowhere" and Sarah Palin's foreign travel. Guthrie's story challenged the claims in one of McCain's TV commercials. A few minutes later, "Nightly News" ran one of McCain's campaign spots during a commercial break. It made for an odd juxtaposition, one not unique to NBC. Evening newscasts on ABC and CBS also ran McCain commercials during the past few weeks. Ads supporting a candidate for office are nothing new to local news viewers, but were once frowned upon - if not banned outright - from the networks' flagship newscasts. The worry was they could get in the way of the journalism. Though the practice may have changed, some experts feel the concerns haven't. "It can be confusing and, more importantly, distracting to the news coverage," said Bob Steele, a DePauw University professor and scholar for journalism values at the Poynter Institute. The networks don't consider it much of an issue since ads frequently flood local news programs.
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