Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 1, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

HITLER vs. "A METER"....Today, Nick Anderson of the LA Times decides to play evenhanded reporter and compare the "bare knuckles" advertising used on the internet by the major parties. Let's see what he comes up with. First, the Republicans:

Last week, the Bush campaign e-mailed a 78-second video to millions of supporters that included images of Adolf Hitler amid a stream of Democrats inveighing against the president.

Ensuing protests over the video's use of images of the Nazi dictator led Bush aides to add a 20-second disclaimer saying the Hitler clips had first been used against him by liberal opponents.

This, of course, is a lie, although Anderson does not bother to point it out. The clips are from an ad that was submitted to a MoveOn contest and then specifically rejected and denounced by MoveOn, so the Hitler images were first used by "liberal opponents" only if "liberal opponents" means "some guy with access to the internet."

The ad is still on the Bush website and Bush aides defend it as "a call to arms for Republican loyalists."

And what kind of skullduggery does the Kerry campaign have to compare to this? Here it is:

Likewise, Kerry has used Internet videos to attack Bush, even as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee claims to be taking the high road with positive television advertising.

One 50-second video, "Time's Up," says Bush broke promises on healthcare and uses a meter to count the days until the end of his term. Another, the 57-second "Very First Bush Budget," uses computer animation to mock the president's spending plans as the failed exercise of a schoolboy who struggled with elementary mathematics.

"Likewise" indeed. Kerry's ads use "a meter" and some computer animation. That's just shocking, isn't it?

A story about internet advertising is a good idea, especially for newspaper readers who probably haven't seen much of it. But how can Nick Anderson keep a straight face while pretending there's some kind of equivalence between (a) using images of Hitler to smear Democrats and (b) using computer animation to suggest that Bush's budget plans don't add up? Surely the plain facts of his own reporting should have suggested a rather different story to him?

Kevin Drum 1:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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