Stations pull ads critical of Pickering
from staff and wire reports
Sept. 18, 2002
Labor-backed ads critical of Republican Rep. Chip Pickering's vote on a federal economic stimulus package have been pulled by six television stations in the 3rd Congressional District.
The AFL-CIO paid for ads that criticize Pickering for voting for the U.S. House Republican package from which Enron stood to gain handsomely after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Meridian television stations WTOK, WMDN and WGBC and Jackson stations WAPT, WLBT and WJTV pulled the ads Tuesday at the urging of the Pickering campaign.
Susan Ross, manager of both WMDN and WGBC, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
AFL-CIO spokeswoman Kathy Roeder in Washington said the labor union stands by the ad and regretted it being pulled by the stations. She said the AFL-CIO is "not backing down from any of the facts."
Under the original House-passed bill, billions of dollars in alternative minimum tax credits built up over past years by dozens of corporations would have been immediately redeemed handing Enron a $254 million infusion of cash.
The stimulus package Congress ultimately passed did not contain the Enron language.
Pickering faces Democratic Rep. Ronnie Shows in the Nov. 5 general election. The two were forced into the same congressional district when Mississippi lost one of its five U.S. House seats.
The Pickering campaign complained to the stations that the AFL-CIO is "now attempting to unfairly taint Mr. Pickering for Enron's misdeeds."
Mississippi Republican Party chairman Jim Herring of Canton said Tuesday that while the GOP was not condemning all third-party political ads, the labor union ad was "distorted and dishonest."
Herring called on Shows to also criticize the ad.
Shows campaign spokesman Troy Colbert said the congressman had nothing to do with the ad.
Colbert said for the Shows' camp to call for the AFL-CIO to drop the ads "would be considered coordination, which Chip Pickering and Jim Herring know is illegal."
The AFL-CIO's Roeder said the television stations, in pulling the ads, are now editing what voters should hear rather than offering access to different political views.