Friday, February 17, 2006

We think you are misleading, therefore you should be silent

I have to wonder what the Minnesota State DFL is thinking right now. They have been calling for WCCO-TV and KARE to stop running pro-Iraq War ads that are being financed by a conversative campaign group. The ads that have run thus far show returning soldiers talking about their views on the war, and along with similar views expressed by the families of soldiers who died in Iraq. Here is the text of an e-mail asking DFLers to get involved.

Dear DFLer,

I’ve heard from many of you that you are disturbed by the misleading "Midwest Heroes" ads produced by Progress for America Voter Fund that are currently being run by KARE 11 and WCCO. The ads erroneously make a connection between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorists attacks and suggest that the war in Iraq will prevent an attack by Al Queda in America. The 9/11 Commission findings clearly state that there was no connection between Iraq and the the Al Queda terrorists attacks on 9/11. We must call for media responsibility regarding this issue. We have extraordinary sympathy for our troops and their families and believe that while our soldiers’ role is to protect the citizens of our country, it is our role as citizens to protect our soldiers and to make certain that they are not misused. It is a travesty that the tragedies of five countries and the deaths of our brave men and women are being used in this type of propaganda. Right now, our state is a testing ground for these ads. If Minnesota speaks out and says no to this ad, the entire country can thank us. What we do here, now, will have an enormous impact on the success or failure of this kind of swiftboating in 06.

You can view the ads at: http://www.midwestheroes.com/


Additionally, WCCO did a Reality Check stating that the ad is misleading and partly true, which in my mind means that it is partly false. See it at: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=14609@wcco.dayport.com

If you feel that this ad is doing a disservice to our troops and is misleading at best, and pure propaganda at worst, please call:

KARE 11 at 763 546 1111
WCCO at 612 370 0611

to ask for the removal of the ads. Letters to the Editor in your local paper would be helpful to point out the untruths being communicated to citizens as fact. Thanks in advance for being a voice of truth, and for all that you do to improve the state of our nation and state.
DFL Chair Brian Melendez will be holding a press conference at the State Capitol today at 2:30 to ask that this ad be pulled from the air waves. He will be joined by congressional candidate and veteran Tim Walz. Please tune in to your evening news to see coverage of this important event.

Sincerely,
Donna

Donna Cassutt, Associate Chair,Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party


We can argue until the end of time whether or not al-Qaida is involved in the current Iraqi situation - truth be told, a large part of the national debate since the war started has surrounded this point. What I think is objectionable here is that, rather than continuing the discussion, the DFL wants to simply silence the organization producing the ads. I'd humbly suggest that if the DFL is so confident that these ads are false, they should simply present countervailing evidence and let people decide for themselves. I'd also suggest that the DFL's timing on this effort may turn out to be somewhat less than propitious, with the "Saddam tapes" and the "HARMONY" documents starting to come into the public arena. The overall perception of the war may be in for a dramatic change very soon.

I wish there were less political ads on television - I really do. But suppressing speech does nothing to further understanding. If the DFL were more confident, they wouldn't need to take this approach.

2 comments:

Execu-bot said...

Speaking as one who hasn't seen the ads, I know I should be cautious... but I think there are two intersting points at issue here:

1) How accountable do we hold media outlets for what they run
and 2) What impact does this have on freedom of speech.

I think one can have whatever values or opinions they wish, but I'm not sure that gives anyone the right to present it as 'fact.' I haven't seen the ads to know what they present, but propaganda wars aren't necessarily helpful... Sometimes it seems the end up polarizing the public, or muddying the issues...

Mark said...

All fair points, execu-bot, but my bias would always be toward more free speech. Always. Voltaire pretty much summed it up for me.