Friday, January 16, 2004

MoveOn's Bush In 30 Seconds Campaign -- Follow-Up

The mouthpiece for American fundamentalism and poster child for corporate avarice (also known as the Republican National Committee) embarked on a smear campaign against MoveOn.

On 06 JAN 04, I received this email. It may be ten days old, but it is still pertinent.

Dear MoveOn member,

As the New Year begins, we'd rather be talking about positive things, and there are plenty of good things happening. But has come under attack from the Republican National Committee (RNC), which has launched a campaign of malicious misinformation to divert attention from the creativity and power of the Bush in 30 Seconds contest. We need your help to make sure the media don't fall for it.

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie launched the attack on "Fox News Sunday," and the RNC followed it with press releases and calls to reporters. The charges centered on two ads posted on the Bush in 30 Seconds website which compared President Bush's tactics with those of Adolf Hitler. Mr. Gillespie repeatedly referred to the ads as 'the MoveOn ad' or 'MoveOn's ad,' implying that we had sponsored or perhaps even commissioned the ad. And he also claimed that we might spend $7 million to run it on TV.

This is a lie. hasn't sponsored such an ad, and we never would -- we regret the appearance of these ads on the Bush In 30 Seconds site. The two ads in question are from more than a thousand posted by members of the public, and they were voted on by MoveOn members through December 31st. Obviously the few hundred of you who viewed these ads agreed that they were not worthy of further broadcast or recognition, because they got low ratings. Yesterday we announced the 15 finalists -- all good, hard-hitting and fair appraisals of the Bush record, in the judgment of the members and others who rated them. The two offending ads can only be found one place now -- on the RNC website!

When we've explained this to journalists, most have understood that this is a game of gotcha politics, not news. But even our statement for the press below, which goes through the entire process in detail, hasn't stopped the right wing from working this angle as hard as they can.

That's why we're asking you to please watch for stories on this as they appear, and let us know. Call the news outlet yourself and give them hell for falling victim to such political baloney. I've attached our statement, which fully explains the situation, below. Then please let us know so we can contact the outlets directly.

You can help us track inaccurate reporting on this story at:

Second, we need you to get the press back on the right track. After you've corrected the negative accounts, write an upbeat letter to your local paper about the exciting and positive aspects of the contest and the finalists. These ads reflect the courage, hope, and deep patriotism of our membership. They're creative, passionate, and totally unlike most of the political ads that are out there. And perhaps most importantly, they were picked in a democratic way. Now that's a story.

The finalists are online at:

By sharing that URL with your friends, family, and colleagues, you can help to make sure that the RNC isn't successful in stealing our finalists' glory.

Not only is the RNC campaign deceptive, it's also totally disingenuous. Yesterday, the New York Post ran a long opinion column focusing exclusively on how much Presidential Candidate Howard Dean resembles Hitler, even calling him "Herr Howie." Of course, the RNC hasn't issued a condemnation of that. When close RNC ally Grover Norquist repeatedly compared taxing the wealthy with the Holocaust in an interview on NPR, the RNC was muted. And in 2002, the RNC and its allies were silent when supporters of President Bush actually aired TV ads morphing the face of Senator Max Cleland, a triple amputee as a result of wounds sustained in Vietnam, into Osama bin Laden. Given such a transparently partisan track record, the RNC's moral outrage doesn't mean a whole lot.

Obviously, and its 1.7 million members are now on the right-wing radar. They are going to do everything they can do to silence us, and we simply won't let it happen. Smear tactics and campaigns of misinformation have no place in American democracy.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The Team
January 6th, 2003

P.S. Here's the statement we released to the press yesterday, which explains the whole situation.

Screening Process Allowed Ads to Slip Through
Statement by Wes Boyd, Founder of Voter Fund:

The Republican National Committee and its chairman have falsely accused of sponsoring ads on its website which compare President Bush to Adolf Hitler. The claim is deliberately and maliciously misleading.

During December the Voter Fund invited members of the public to submit ads that purported to tell the truth about the President and his policies. More than 1,500 submissions from ordinary Americans came in and were posted on a web site,, for the public to review.

None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by Voter Fund. They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions. They were voted down by our members and the public, who reviewed the ads and submitted nearly 3 million critiques in the process of choosing the 15 finalist entries.

We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process. In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system.

Contrast this with the behavior of the RNC and its allies when supporters of President Bush used TV ads morphing the face of Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) into that of Osama Bin Laden during the 2002 Senate race. and the Voter Fund exist to bring the public into the political process and produce a more fact-based election process. We regret that the RNC doesn't seem to embrace the same goals.

It's important to work against the RNC and their campaign of fundamentalism and avarice. I hope you will join MoveOn and become active in the coming presidential campaign. We can remove the evil-doers from the White House and restore sanity to our nation.