Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama Team's Whining and Intimidation Tactics Over Political Ads Must Stop

I think it's great that the Obama team is taking an active role in countering what they believe to be mistatements and dishonest portrayals of their candidate, but this is not the way to do it:

The Obama campaign has written radio stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, pressing them to refuse to air an ad from the National Rifle Association.

"This advertisement knowingly misleads your viewing audience about Senator Obama's position on the Second Amendment," says the letter from Obama general counsel Bob Bauer. "For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement."

"FCC licensing requirements"? Are they suggesting that they're going to try to get stations' licenses pulled for running political ads? The rest of the letter (linked above) contains similar veiled threats about stations "bearing responsibility" and having a "duty" about this or that. What is this B.S.?

It is de rigeur for political ads to contain half-truths, exaggerations and comments taken out of context. Obama's ad team should sure as hell know that, given some of their own ridiculous ads, such as the "1982" piece or the one trying to tie McCain to Rush Limbaugh.

The letter goes into specific detail about how and why Obama's camp feels the ads are inaccurate. So? It's not the job of the TV stations to pore over every ad fact-checking it and trying to sift out intent and context. The appropriate way to deal with an ad that you feel does not represent your candidate fairly is to reply with an ad of your own, not try to silence your opponents.

I've said for quite some time that Obama was very weak in the gun area, and that it was obvious that the NRA and other gun owners' groups would come after him on it. His positions on gun control are a shifting quicksand of ambiguous statements and unpopular votes, and that's nobody's fault but his own.

Barack Obama needs to come out and clearly show that he supports the Second Amendment, not try to interfere with the First.

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