ST. PAUL, Minn. - MSNBC rejected a TV ad calling for a boycott of Target Corp. after the retail giant made a political donation in Minnesota, continuing the controversy over corporate involvement in elections.
MSNBC spokeswoman Alana Russo said Thursday that the commercial submitted by the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org violates its advertising policy by attacking an individual business directly. The ad features Target's bullseye logo and accuses the chain of trying to buy elections.
MoveOn executive director Justin Ruben said the rejection was "the height of hypocrisy" and accused MSNBC and its corporate parent, General Electric Co., of trying to protect Target from consumer anger.
MoveOn spokeswoman Ilyse Hogue said the ad began running Thursday on ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates in the Twin Cities. The affiliates, KSTP, WCCO and KARE, confirmed that the ad was airing.
MoveOn originally planned to spend $35,000 on the ad, including national air time on MSNBC. Hogue said the group hasn't decided what to do with the money it planned to spend on the MSNBC slots.
Minneapolis-based Target triggered a national backlash by giving $150,000 last month to a business-oriented political fund supporting conservative Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes gay marriage and other rights for same-sex couples.
Gay rights groups and liberals have protested at Target's stores and headquarters. The flap showed the risks for businesses that take advantage of new freedom to spend company money directly on political campaigns after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.