NJN uses Estabrook to plug documentary

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GOP U.S. Senate candidate Anne Evans Estabrook’s free ad on the New Jersey Network may be poorly timed, but it doesn’t appear that anything sinister is going on. NJN allowed the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to tape a 60-second public service announcement in April plugging three NJN documentaries. Estabrook is on the NJN Foundation Board of Directors, and hosted a fundraiser for a Jerry Herman documentary which she plugged in a promotional spot.

The ad starts with Estabrook, surrounded by family photos, looking into the camera and saying:

“Hi, I’m Anne Evans Estabrook. I’ve lived most of my life in New Jersey. I raised my children here, and I run my business here in the Garden State. I always felt that we here in NJ have a diverse and fascinating state.”

NJN says that board members and other community leaders are often asked to do similar spots for the network. “These are called VIP spots, and we bring community leaders to talk about the public value of NJN and to promote NJN. That’s the whole intention,” Ronnie Weyl, an NJN spokeswoman, told PoliticsNJ.com.

The spot has run about forty times, and will be used as part of a national PBS promotion.

“If Ms. Estabrook had declared that she was running and we were still running the spots, we would stop airing it,” said Weyl. Estabrook has been seeking support to run against Frank Lautenberg since late last year, and announced the formation of an Exploratory Committee in July.

Peter Cocoziello, a real estate developer and NJN Foundation Chairman, also serves on Estabrook’s Exploratory Committee.

But Weyl also said that the idea of using Estabrook in a PSA came from NJN.

Estabrook says that if she becomes an announced Senate candidate, she will ask NJN to take the spot down.

NJN also says that they have invited Lautenberg to do a PSA on Ken Burns’ new documentary on World War II. The 83 ½ year old Senator served in the U.S. Army during the war.

Estabrook’s primary opponent, Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, didn’t seem terribly bothered by NJN’s promotion of Estabrook. “I would hope someday that NJN would get us both in the studio to talk about issues that are truly important to the people of New Jersey,” Pennacchio said.

NJN uses Estabrook to plug documentary