Friday, October 26, 2012

AT WHAT POINT DOES A POLITICAL AD BECOME HATE SPEECH?


I'm going to dwell on this one for a bit. I posted a video on FaceBook by Winning our Future, the Newt Gingrich SuperPAC. The video is beyond disturbing; I think it is hate speech.

Let's start with the Winning our Future Mission Statement from their website:


WINNING OUR FUTURE MISSION STATEMENT

"It is not 'can any of us imagine better?' but, 'can we all do better?'"  Abraham Lincoln, 1862

At Winning Our Future, we believe our nation to be the most successful civilization by any measure in all of human history,  Therefore, she is worthy of protection from the ideologies that seek to undermine her standing as a force for good in the world.   We can escape neither our history nor our duty.  Our solemn obligation is to perpetuate the virtuous principles that have made America a beacon of hope for all who commit to ascend to her ideals.
Political leaders and their decisions can make any place prosperous and free or poor and oppressive.  Therefore, strengthening our foundation in the bedrock of freedom demands leaders who understand without apology why America is great.
We seek to disrupt the status quo in Washington DC, and displace those elected officials - without regard to political party - whose chief aim is to diminish freedom by expanding government beyond its Constitutionally limited role.  Our goal is to defeat them, their ideas and their agenda and replace them with individuals who will preserve, protect and advance America as "the last best hope on earth."
America can do better.
At Winning Our Future, we will work tirelessly to deliver the leadership this great country deserves.
Now here is a link to their video (I don't yet know if this has aired on television). You need to watch it; it is just under 3 minutes.
I used pause and start to isolate a number of images, and these need to be highlighted for this discussion. Most of these appear for a fraction of a second in order to be planted in your mind but not dwelt on.
0:48 in the section labeled World Chaos, following images of angry Arabs demonstrating, blowing things up, tearing an American flag apart with their teeth, and etc. is a quick flash of an evil skull superimposed on the face of the Statue of Liberty.
1:10 in the Energy section, long lines of cars at gas stations and other images are followed by a quick shot of blood-like oil dripping down an Obama American flag logo
The Religion section - 
1:31 an image of 2 gay men being married, 
1:31 a quick image of a fetus in a womb is followed by a photo of Obama speaking at Planned Parenthood
1:35 is an image of an American Atheist billboard questioning religion
1:38 is an image of a church superimposed with the text "Church Converted to a Mosque"
1:40 shows a large wooden cross being cut down with a chainsaw, and then a quick image of a Newsweek cover with a bloody-faced Jesus
1:57 is a relatively lengthy video clip from the Democratic national convention when there was a floor vote about having the word "god" in the platform. The camera lingers on two people who shout "NO!," one of them a woman holding a sign that reads "Arab American"
2:10 in the Health Care section, a small TV set showing Obama and Biden embracing is destroyed with a sledge hammer
The final text of the video: "A vote for Romney is a vote for America."
The disclaimer at the bottom, explaining that the video is not produced by a political campaign, is almost unreadable. 
I think a lot of the above is hate speech. It is anti-Arab, anti-Muslim. It is anti gay. It conveys the message that non-Christians are attacking Christianity. A large number of the images are very violent. The musical score is very ominous.  And all of these horrible things are because of Obama. 
I think that things have gone too far in political campaigns. Yes, this was produced by a SuperPAC, but why does that really matter? There should be some kind of boundaries set for political ads, and enforcement of these rules. 
Am I the only one disturbed by this ad? I hope not.





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