Friday, August 7, 2009

CNN Refusing to Run Health Care Ad Critical of Insurance Industry

CNN Refusing To Run Health Care Ad Critical Of Insurance Industry

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What on earth is going on at CNN?

The network — already taking criticism for declining to run an ad criticizing Lou Dobbs — is now refusing to run an ad nationally criticizing the insurance industry, the group that tried to place the ad tells me.

CNN’s reason: The ad “unnecessarily” singles out a top insurance industry executive by name for criticism.

The labor-backed Americans United for Change, a top White House ally in the health care wars, tried to book time on CNN and MSNBC for the ad, which hits the insurance industry for wanting to preserve the status quo and levels harsh criticism at insurance giant Cigna’s CEO, Ed Hanway.

“Why do insurance companies and Republicans want to kill health insurance reform? Because they like things the way they are now,” the ad says, and then slams Hanway’s annual salary of over $12 million and golden parachute retirement package of over $70 million.

Americans United for Change’s spokesman, Jeremy Funk, tells me that CNN refused to run the ad nationally. He says CNN emailed the following reason for rejection:

“This ad does not comply with our clearance guidelines because it unnecessarily singles out an individual company and person.”

That very well may be CNN’s policy. But AUC maintains that the mention of Cigna’s CEO was necessary to dramatize the enormous stake the insurance industry has in the health care wars. What’s more, AUC argues, the industry is made up of companies that are run by individuals deciding how to spend huge money to impact the health care debate — so why are they off limits?

“The bottom line question is: Would CNN run ads from Cigna that are positive about the company?” Funk asks. “If yes, why would they turn down an ad critical of the company for their role in trying to kill health insurance reform?”

By contrast, the ad will air nationally on MSNBC tomorrow. Here’s the spot:

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