by John Dankosky – I hadn’t seen this new online ad attacking Richard Blumenthal for his Vietnam comments until it was sent to me by Susan Lund, producer for NPR’s Talk of the Nation. She was getting me ready for my conversation about the Blumenthal/McMahon Race with Neal Conan and Ken Rudin, the “Political Junkie” on today’s program. They were planning to play some of the ad on the program – to show how the race is “heating up.”
But when I watched it, what I saw about halfway through made my jaw drop…then I picked up the phone to Washington.
I recognized it right away, because it’s rare to catch a politician – like Blumenthal, who is normally so guarded – in a moment of open-mouthed laughter (I’m not sure what was so funny).
If you’re interested in seeing the video – look soon, because I’ve requested that it be taken down immediately, pending an edit. WNPR doesn’t let political organizations use our images (or words, or sounds) without permission – and we certainly don’t want our images used in a partisan attack ad.
It’s made me think about the power of images and words and how they can be manipulated – and also about intent. I don’t think the NRSC knowingly used a copyrighted image to attack a rival politician. But sometimes, people do things they didn’t really mean to – and I’ve always felt it’s best to take them at their word and accept their apology for their mistake, their misstep or their misstatement.
UPDATE: The NRSC was good enough to take down the ad from their website, and the accompanying YouTube Link. They were prompt and courteous in granting WNPR’s request.