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Hannity

NBC Refuses to Air Ad Supporting Our Troops: Where's the Outrage?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 7, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." NBC, by the way, refusing to air a new ad from Freedom Watch because the final frame contains [the Internet address for] Freedom Watch's Web site. NBC says its policy prevents it from running such an ad.

Here's what the policy states: "The NBC network does not accept controversial issue advertising. Viewers are better served by the treatment of such issues in news programs produced by NBC's broadcast and cable networks."

Here's the ad. Judge for yourself:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are gathering across the country to support our troops, who are away from their families this holiday season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're proud of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These young men and women are heroes, they deserve our undying gratitude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: Now, there's been no backlash against NBC for that decision, but FOX News has received heavy criticism over deciding not to air an anti-Bush ad featuring Danny Glover. Now, it's important to note FOX News asked for some facts in the Glover ad to be verified, They never were verified, which is why the ad was rejected.

Joining us now from Vets for Victory, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell.

Steve, tell us about your ad, and can you understand why some might call it an "issue ad"?

STEVE RUSSELL, VETS FOR VICTORY: Well, I don't understand why it would be a controversial ad. I was invited to appear in the ad that was sponsored by Freedom Watch, which you can find at FreedomsWatch.org. And the controversy apparently was raised because that web address was on the end of the commercial.

The most controversial thing in it is thanks. We appreciate what the soldiers are doing and God bless you.

COLMES: They're saying because it's a nonprofit, therefore the website can't be included. As far as I'm concerned, you may not agree with that decision. One may not agree with the FOX decision not to air the Glover ad. But if you're a broadcast operation, I think each broadcast operation has the right to reject or accept an ad for whatever their policy states. I mean, let them decide what they want to do.

RUSSELL: Well, there's certainly the right to accept ads or not to accept ads, but the Glover ad was accepted. The ad there was very controversial. It had a website that was listed at the end of the ad, and it showed political action, as NBC had said. All of these things apparently were not an issue when it was trying to do something that would say that the president was destroying the Constitution and it called for political action that would release terrorists from Guantanamo.

If that's not controversial, I don't know what is.

COLMES: It certainly is controversial. I don't feel your ad is controversial. But my point is that, for whatever reason, I believe a company has a right to say look, I'm going to take that ad or I'm not going to take that ad. If FOX says this doesn't fit our reasons or we want more verification, FOX has a right to do that. If NBC says we have a policy that says what you're putting up on the screen you know, why could you not have done the ad, have NBC carry it and without the Web site or whatever it was that they found objectionable?

RUSSELL: Well, NBC has a right to not tell the soldiers thanks. They have that right. But fortunately all of the other networks and cable networks, such as FOX, had no issue with airing this ad and letting the American people express their gratitude to our troops and the things that they're doing during this holiday season. If NBC thinks it's bad business practice to not say thanks, well then that shows where their true stance is

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Colonel, just to put a few facts on the record here, you were willing to pay for the ad time, correct?

RUSSELL: Freedom's Watch bought the ad time. They put all of that through the advertising agencies that they normally go through to put the ads forth.

HANNITY: Would you have been willing to take away the Web site part of it, which was part of the complaint?

RUSSELL: Part of the complaint was based upon a Web site that essentially just said Freedom's Watch.org. It's a non-profit organization, and it has many things that say how they can help troops.

HANNITY: I'm only saying this here, there is no excuse for NBC to not run this ad to thank these brave men and women for their sacrifice, and remember them while they're out there protecting our liberties and our freedoms.

Now, I'm going to tell you something, Newt Gingrich said earlier on our air, right here on the FOX News Channel, that they should be boycotted. Your thoughts?

RUSSELL: I think that when Americans have decided that they want to tell the troops thanks, they need to have that vehicle to do so, especially when they're paying for that time.

I would imagine that many soldiers and veterans like myself — I chair Vets for Victory. We represent a lot of veterans. I fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will probably not be watching NBC.

HANNITY: I would like, for example, specific — does Brian Williams support this? Does Matt Lauer support this? Does Jeff Zucker support this idea? The people at the top management of NBC News, are they proud to reject an ad, that is being paid for, thanking America's brave men and women for their service? That's all this ad is. They say it's a controversial issue ad. The only issue is we all ought to be thankful.

RUSSELL: We should be. I appeared in the ad. In it, I just said thank you. It was an honor to serve with you, God bless you. That's pretty controversial. Maybe that's against good business practice for NBC, but most Americans can see through that. There's another agenda here.

HANNITY: What do you want most Americans to do here? Do you want them to boycott?

RUSSELL: We would like to see Americans get behind our troops. I've spent Christmases and holidays away from home. I know what that feels like. Our soldiers are doing a tremendous job overseas. They do like to see ads like this, where people take the time, expense, and effort to tell them thanks, to recognize that we're thinking about them. That was the effort here. And that people could not have enough intestinal fortitude and strength to say yeah, we'll let you say thanks, then that shows a different side of their nature.

HANNITY: All right, colonel, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

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