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KC <I>Star</i> asks Talent to pull or change ads

By Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Star has asked Senator Jim Talent's campaign to pull adds it says mislead voters.

At issue are three three TV ads that flash quotes on the screen that impinge the character of Talent's opponent, State Auditor Clair McCaskill, and attribute them to the Kansas City Star.

Editorial Page Editor Miriam Pepper says the quotes were from McCaskill's political opponents, not the Star's editorial board, as it appears on TV.

"They are lifting quotes out of context and crediting it as if it's coming from the newspaper staff it self, and this isn't fair to voters," Pepper said.

Pepper says the Talent campaign has promised to change the spots, but as of Tuesday afternoon, she was still getting complaints from viewers who had seen them on TV.

Another Talent add shows a quote from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lambasting McCaskill pulled from an editorial endorsing the Democrat.

The ads flash quotes like "Spreading Untruths" and "Exaggerating" above the newspaper's logo. The non partisan election watch dog group Fact Check.org saw the adds and decided they make it look like the quotes are coming from the Star's editorial staff. They're not.

The quotes from McCaskill opponents sighted in Star news stories. Talent's campaign says that if the attribution is misleading, that's a mistake.

The Star's Miriam Pepper isn't buying it: "They're doing it for a purpose, the news origination lends credibility to these charges. And that's what we object to, that our credibility shouldn't be sullied by adds that misconstrue who said what."