It's pretty hard to escape political ads in an election year. Some are annoying, some are untrue -- even offensive, but when do they go too far? When can -- and should -- a TV station pull the plug?
When it comes to political ads produced and paid for by federal candidates, TV stations have no choice but to run it; however, when an ad is produced by a political party or a super PAC, the station decides whether to run it or not.
One local station looked at an ad attacking Rep. Chip Cravaack and said opted to keep it off its airwaves after the ad accused him of bringing back "some strange ideas" from Washington.
"We immediately knew there was false, misleading information in that," said Ben Golnik, strategist for the congressman.
Though many people have already seen the ad on TV, they won't see it on WCCO -- and Cravaack's campaign says that's exactly how it should be because they take issue with one line about a town hall held in Duluth last year.
"Instead of town hall meetings, you had to pay to see him," the ad claimed.
The campaign said visitors to that event were charged $10 for lunch, not for admission.
Though the ad was not produced by Cravaack's challenger, Rick Nolan, Golnik said he believes it will only hurt his cause.
"In this case, it has backfired. These are outright lies. Anyone who does just a minimal amount of research can see these are outright lies and smears," Golnik said.
The ad was created by House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. House, and they say they "completely, fully, unquestionably" stand by the advertisement.
Golnik told FOX 9 News he asked each station in the Twin Cities to stop running the ad. WCCO responded saying only, "We have no further airings of the spot scheduled."
So will this hurt Nolan's chances of unseating the incumbent? An advertising expert told FOX 9 News it is possible.
"I don't think viewers make the distinction between what's a candidate ad and what's an independent expenditure ad," Bill Hillsman, of North Woods Advertising, told FOX 9 News. "I think it's all political ads to them."
Yet, that doesn't mean that the super PACs and parties don't see the difference, according to Hillsman.
"If there's no candidate responsible for the ad, then of course they're going to feel like they can be more negative, they can be more dishonest, more inaccurate," he said.