This ad from the Republican Trust PAC – over 100,000 views on YouTube – has been rejected by NBC and CBS for airing. Note the, um, not especially subtle symbolism used in the “starter” image:
Though NBC spokesperson Jennifer Riley arguably could have gone much further, her explanation is strong on one main point:
An ad questioning the wisdom of building a mosque at ground zero would meet our issues of public controversy advertising criteria. However, this ad which ambiguously defines ‘they’ as referenced in the spot makes it unclear as to whether the reference is to terrorists or to the Islamic religious organization that is sponsoring the building of the mosque. Consequently, the ad is not acceptable under our guidelines for broadcast.
The response from National Republican Trust spokesperson Scott Wheeler reinforces Riley’s argument: “‘They’,” he said,” is a reference to the people who are putting up the money with the intent of provoking us.”
My personal view is that we can safely consider Wheeler and friends well and truly provoked, possibly beyond reason as well as beyond any notion of what really is provoking them – or possibly provoked by the notion that they can seize upon and manipulate popular emotions for their own purposes.
(h/t to narciso for linking to the Ben Smith column linked within the post.)