Bush Campaign Lies

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #63: That Hitler Ad 

The ad 'The Coalition of the Wild-eyed' can be seen over at the Bush/Cheney website.

The ad begins with a black background and then white text fades into the foreground:

"The following video contains remarks made by and images from ads sponsored by Kerry Supporters."

This, is intentionally misleading and deceptive. In flowery words it's what you might call intellectual dishonesty. In more concise words, it's a lie.

The intent of the ad is to make you believe that Kerry himself, and anyone who is a "Kerry Supporter", sponsored and/or approved of the remarks and most importantly, the message and use of the Hitler "images from ads" that they are making reference to. The ads, which drew upon images and speeches of Hitler to make comparisons to Bush, came out of the MoveOn contest, 'Bush In 30 Seconds'. Neither went past the submission point, and were met with an overwhelming lack of support amongst voting members and the judges of the MoveOn contest who actually had the chance to view them.

There are a few key points to make here.

1. The two ads referenced to were created with no assistance (creative or monetary) from MoveOn.org or John Kerry, but rather paid for and created soley by private citizens. These citizens submitted them -as THEY created them- to the contest. Which brings me to,

2. The person(s) who created at least one of the ads, had put "Sponsored by MoveOn.org" on their video. This is a big point in the Bush/Cheney ad as they strive to link Kerry to any person(s) and group, including MoveOn.org, that has criticized the Bush administration in any way. MoveOn.org, however, did not in fact "sponsor" the ads.
At least, not in the most common, legally binding sense, that we mean here in America when we use the words "sponsored by". It does seem like a splitting of hairs argument, but not only am I sure the RNC/GOP and/or Bush camp would make the same argument, but it's an important distinction to make when taking on this matter.

MoveOn did sponsor the contest, but never gave any official sponsorship to the ad itself. Meaning, it never endorsed it. Some might argue that it was given their unofficial stamp of approval, because it found its way onto the site, and was viewable to the public. You can make that argument, but it's a real stretch. I don't think anyone would want to start applying this definition of "sponsored" across the board.

The official reason for these ads showing up on the site was that it was a mistake, an oversight.

I could not find any official criterion for rejection of ads prior to the voting process. I did find something in the rules about guidelines specifically for winning articles where they state,

[...]Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify and remove from the web site any entry which is, in the judging panel's discretion, inappropriate, offensive, defamatory, or demeaning to Sponsor's reputation or goodwill.

I found via Memory Hole, their apology in regards to the ads, as well as an interesting article Switching Power: Easier to Pull the Plug.

Thanks to Upyernoz, who sums up the situation in a more concise manner, who links us to the Memory Hole, where you can still go to view the ads.


Also weighing in on this topic, from a Washington Monthly post by Kevin Drum (formerly Calpundit), HITLER vs. "A METER".....

2:40 PM