Tuesday | July 22, 2003
RNC overacts to "Bush lied" DNC ad
You remember the ad, we criticized it last week. (We're a tough crowd around these parts.)
Well, the DNC scrounged up enough change under the couch cushion to air it in Madison, WI.
Now, rather than let the DNC run the ad in one of the most liberal corners of the country, where it could do the least amount of damage, the RNC has overreacted. In a fit of unfathomable pique, the RNC's attack-dog lawyer sent the following letter to Madison station managers:
Dear Station Manager:
It has come to our attention that your station will begin airing false and misleading advertisements on July 21, 2003, paid for by the Democratic National Committee. The advertisement in question misrepresents President George W. Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address. The advertisement states that President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." In fact, President Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." By selectively quoting President Bush, the advertisement is deliberately false and misleading. Furthermore, the British government continues to stand by its intelligence and asserts that it believes the intelligence is genuine.
The Democratic National Committee certainly has a legitimate First Amendment right to participate in political debate, but it has no right to willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people. These advertisements will not be run by legally qualified candidates; therefore, your station is under no legal obligation to air them. On the contrary, as an FCC licensee you have the responsibility to exercise independent editorial judgment to not only oversee and protect the American marketplace of ideas, essential for the health of our democracy, but also to avoid deliberate misrepresentations of the facts. Such obligations must be taken seriously.
This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.
Caroline C. Hunter
Except, of course, that the ad is true. Every word of it. And by raising a stink, they will continue driving the story when it may have otherwise faded into quiet oblivion.
Posted July 22, 2003 12:05 AM