In a report on the ad wars of the 2006 midterm elections, co-anchor Terry Moran reported on the October 25 broadcast of ABC's Nightline that "both sides are playing a serious game of hardball" with "mudslinging" attack ads hitting "below the belt." Moran wondered, "How low can they go?" Despite Moran's insistence that the "low punches" were being thrown by both Democrats and Republicans, the entire Nightline report focused on a handful of controversial Republican commercials -- including ads being aired in Tennessee, Massachusetts, and New York -- that have garnered wide media attention and been broadly condemned, both for their inaccuracies and their ugly personal attacks. Moran's report provided no examples of Democratic-sponsored attack ads being aired that match the level of distortion and personal attack found in the Republican commercials.
The Nightline broadcast followed an earlier ABC News report posted online that also addressed negative campaign ads. As Media Matters for America noted, despite focusing exclusively on the string of "ugly" and "nasty" Republican smear commercials, the ABC piece, like the Nightline report, insisted that "Democrats aren't necessarily running clean campaigns." Unable to cite any current examples however, ABC simply stated, "As the races tighten in the next couple of weeks, the left will likely unleash its garbage as well."