Friday, August 12, 2005

NARAL: "Oops!"; CNN looks stupid

After a firestorm of national criticism, NARAL pulled an ad that implied SCOTUS nominee John Roberts defended (or was legally sympathetic to) an abortion clinic bomber. The ad was blatantly those of you in blue states, it means that the ad was a lie and that NARAL knew it was a lie.

It seems that some of NARAL's allies found the ad quite distasteful, including Sen. Arlen Specter, who is the pro-choice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will begin debating Roberts' nomination on Sept. 6. Said Specter: "The NARAL advertisement is not helpful to the pro-choice cause which I support."

Of course, NARAL is now using the Dick Durbin the Turban defense: OK, poor choice of words and sucky analogy, but don't let the presentation get in the way of the overall point! (Sidebar: imagine a door-to-door salesman trying to sell you a Kirby vacuum cleaner that tore up your carpet, then tried the NARAL-Turban line of "Well, you're getting distracted from the point: this is a great vacuum!" Would you buy it?)

"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said. Translation: We didn't expect people would get that mad about our deceptiveness. Damn that Fox News!

Finally, let's address CNN. This joke of a news network knew damned well the ad was false, and decided to run it anyway. You'd think that with billionaire Ted running the show, they wouldn't be as cash-strapped as Air America to where they'd need to risk what little credibility they had left (after the Eason Jordan - Peter Arnette - "running interference for Saddam during his killing days" debacles) in order to collect ad revenue from unsavory sources.

On Wednesday, CNN reporter John King interviewed former CNN facts-checker Brooks Jackson (who now works for the Annenberg Center's

JACKSON: "False" is strong language, and we use it very seldom. Usually ads are "misleading," "twisted," "distorted," but this one is just downright wrong in the total impression it tries to create.

KING: The facts do not show that Roberts quote, "excused violence."

King goes on to mention the memo Roberts drafted in 1986, saying, "Abortion clinic bombers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. No matter how lofty or sincerely held the goal, those who resort to violence to achieve it are criminals."

So now that CNN's King has officially reported on the ad and rendered it a lie, they trot out poor Lou Dobbs, who gets the crappy job of trying to defend the CNN policy:

DOBBS: At CNN we should point out it's policy on this, the ad is absolutely wrong, according to the Annenberg watchdog there. CNN says it accepts advocacy advertising from responsible groups from across the political spectrum who wish to express their views and opinions about issues of public importance. So that viewers can further research claims made within the ads, the messages must identify the name of the sponsoring organization, usually by displaying a website address. John King, I want to thank you for helping our viewers ascertain the validity of the claims of that particular ad. We hope you will do so with more to come.

Translation: We now know it's a lie, no questions about it. Uh... We're going to run the ad anyway!

In light of this ad campaign, how can CNN consider NARAL to be a "responsible advocacy group"? I guess because their advertising check didn't bounce...that passes for "responsibile"! Now that NARAL has pulled the ad because it's a lie, CNN is left hanging. They're now known as the network that knowingly ran ads so false even the advertiser pulled them. CNN is now as exposed as Bill Clinton's "Little Willy" in front of Paula Jones!