The battle over political attack ads continued Wednesday as Sacramento TV stations flip-flopped about whether to run a controversial spot bashing Rep. Jeff Denham.
KXTV Channel 10 decided Wednesday afternoon to stop running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's anti-Denham ad.
Republican incumbent Denham, who is an Air Force veteran, contends the ad is libelous because it intentionally includes false information that suggests he doesn't support U.S. troops.
Meanwhile, two other Sacramento TV stations, which had stopped running the ad Tuesday, apparently started running it again Wednesday. (See how much Denham and Hernandez are receiving, spending on election at www.modbee.com/data)
Managers for KCRA Channel 3, Sacramento's NBC affiliate, and its sister station, KQCA Channel 58, did not respond to repeated requests from The Bee to explain the switch.
Denham's attorney, Michael Warda of Turlock, said he was "clearly and unambiguously told" on Tuesday and Wednesday morning that KCRA and KQCA would stop running the ad.
But Warda said the stations' East Coast managers "revisited the issue after the DCCC put pressure on them."
Mark J. Prak, an attorney for Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., which owns KCRA and KQCA, said the stations "did not broadcast the DCCC 'Troops' ad (Tuesday) while management in New York City was reviewing the matter."
Prak said the stations' "view is that it attempts to permit candidates, political parties and other third-party groups to engage in public debate and discussion about politics and public issues."
That "public debate" has been quite profitable for Sacramento TV stations this election season.
This week alone, the DCCC is spending $500,000 on Sacramento TV ads about the 10th Congressional District race between Denham and Democrat Jose Hernandez, according to Jesse Ferguson, the committee's communications director.
The 10th District includes Stanislaus County plus Escalon, Ripon, Manteca and Tracy.
Denham's campaign filed a libel lawsuit last week against the DCCC and the Sacramento TV stations that have been running the ad in question.
Warda said that no matter what happens in Tuesday's election, the lawsuit will continue.
"TV stations need to know there is some limit as to how much you can lie," Warda said. He said any monetary damages awarded as a result of the lawsuit will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2196.