NEW YORK (Reuters) – A local affiliate of the Fox television network has rejected a campaign advertisement for a politician that lampoons President George W. Bush by superimposing his head on a naked torso.
The ad, produced by Brian Ellner, an openly gay candidate for Manhattan borough president, opens with a close-up of Bush’s face and zooms out to show the torso from the hips up, with a voice-over saying, «New Yorkers know the emperor has no clothes.»
Ellner also introduces his male partner during the 30-second commercial.
A spokeswoman for Fox’s WNYW/Channel 5 affiliate said the channel was not running the ad, but declined to say why. A spokeswoman for sister cable network Fox News Channel said: «The decision was made at the station level.»
Ellner said on Tuesday, «This is censorship and it’s un-American. … It’s either anti-gay because I introduce my partner, or it’s anti-free speech because I criticize the president.»
A spokesman for his campaign said no other network had refused to carry the ad, which has been running over the weekend as part of a $300,000 media campaign on various channels including the ABC and NBC network-owned stations Channel 7 and Channel 4.
Ellner said WNYW representatives told his campaign officials that the ad was rejected because Fox viewed it as disrespectful to the office of the president.
«Fox claims that this ad is disrespectful to the president. What is truly disrespectful to Manhattan voters is to deny them the chance to hear a serious message from a candidate for public office,» Ellner said.
Part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire, Fox News is a leading cable news channel in the United States, operating under the slogan «Fair and Balanced.»
According to an annual report by a research arm of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, its audience is increasingly more Republican than viewers of other cable channels.