The images flicker across a TV screen, featuring what appear to be quotes ripped from the pages of newspapers in the 26th Congressional District.
The 30-second ad for Republican Congressional candidate Jane Corwin features frantic sounding music and the voice of a woman actor lamenting high unemployment and taxes and telling listeners, “We need jobs!”
What follows that are claims that Corwin has been successful in growing a family business and has a plan to create more jobs here, while fighting “harmful regulations” and opposing “job killing tax hikes.”
Locked in a tight, three-way contest for the congressional seat vacated by Chris Lee, the ad that pats Corwin on the back was paid for by the United States Chamber of Commerce.
The snippets of text that are featured so prominently in the ad appear to be taken from the editorial or opinion pages of newspapers ranging from the “Daily News” to the “Tonawanda News.”
Tonawanda News Managing Editor Eric DuVall was surprised when he saw the ad during a local TV newscast Wednesday night.
“I thought I can’t imagine what (the ad) was referencing,” DuVall said. “There was nothing ever written by the Tonawanda News that would have supported those claims.”
DuVall got a copy of the ad and looked at the date that appeared along with the quotes attributed to his paper. He found an article written on April 19 by Tonawanda News Night City Editor John Hopkins.
The article featured none of the claims or quotes contained in the TV ad. DuVall felt the Chamber of Commerce was giving people the impression that his newspaper was agreeing with Corwin’s campaign themes.
“That was, I think, the direct implication, that the Tonawanda News had said those things, when in reality, Jane Corwin said those things in the Tonawanda News,” DuVall said. “That’s an entirely different story.”
DuVall said he immediately tried to contact both the Corwin campaign and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His calls were not returned.
Calls on Thursday to J.P. Fielder, senior director, communications at the chamber were also not returned.
Peter Mio, publisher of the Tonawanda News and the Gazette, said the TV ad is misleading.
“We take very seriously the credibility of our newspaper,” Mio said. “To portray statements of a candidate (for political office) as the (editorial) position of our paper is inappropriate and misleading to voters.”
DuVall said he believes the chamber and Corwin should pull the ad off the air and correct it.
“I think it’s a direct misrepresentation of the paper and I’d like to see it taken down,” DuVall said. “No one is saying Jane Corwin doesn’t do those things and feel those ways. But the implication that we (the newspaper) said it is what we object to.”
The Tonawanda News is a sister paper of the Niagara Gazette.
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