WATCH: The Anti-Keystone Pipeline Ad NBC Pulled From Last Night’s Tonight Show

If it were up to billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, the millions of people who tuned to see President Obama on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night would have seen this ad opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian tar sands oil into the United States. But, at the last minute, NBC reportedly refused to air the ad citing a guidelines violation concerning attacks of a “personal nature.”

The ad, produced by Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action group features an actor portraying a parody version of TransCanada CEO Russ Girling. The stand-in for Girling is seen sliding through the dirty pipeline as he exposes the “lies” his company has told about how the project will improve the U.S. economy. The ad claims that rather than increase energy independence for America, it will instead only help China.

As ThinkProgress’ Rebecca Leber points out, NBC has run numerous ads supporting the pipeline, including one that ran on Meet The Press this past Sunday claiming that it will “little impact” on climate change.

In a statement before the ad was pulled, Steyer told The Hill:

“We know The Tonight Show will draw many of President Obama’s supporters, which provides an opportunity to showcase the bad business deal that TransCanada is pushing on the American people. We want to reinforce what President Obama has been saying – the Keystone pipeline will not bring the jobs or economic benefits that TransCanada touts in its lobbying propaganda. And it certainly fails the President’s test of not contributing significantly to harmful emissions.”

The fatal flaw in NextGen Climate Action’s ad appears to have been its primary conceit: the satirical treatment of TransCanada CEO Russ Girling. Whether NBC had any ulterior motive in refusing to air the ad would be difficult to determine, but had the group not incorporated the element of “personal attack,” the ad would have been far more likely to pass NBC’s standards.

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