Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
I am sure you have all seen the comments and political advertisements and articles calling President Obama a Communist, a Socialist, a Kenyan citizen and various attempts to claim that he is a secret Muslim. I had thought I had seen them all when I came across the latest affront to reality. A Gannet newspaper in Louisiana has agreed to run an “interesting” advertisement from an organization calling itself the SOAR Project. SOAR stands for Save Our American Republic.
In my humble opinion, this advertisement goes far beyond any level of reasonableness when it leads with the question, “Will Obama and the Democrats Shoot Catholics and Christians “?
The Gannet Advertiser has approved the advertisement that tries to claim that Obama will shoot Catholics just like the Mexican Government killed a Catholic priest in 1927! I am all for almost unlimited free speech and that includes garbage like this ad, but I am curious if the Gannet Advertiser would approve an advertisement that makes the ridiculous claim that Mitt Romney will hang all African Americans if elected, as suggested by one of the commenters on the Think Progress site?
“The ad shows a photograph of a Catholic priest who was shot and killed in Mexico in the 1920s, and suggests that President Obama and Democrats would do the same evil deed. It was posted by a user on Reddit this morning. The ad copy is no better:
“AMERICA is under siege by the same evil (obama and democrats) as history shows over and over…We must learn from it or we are doomed to repeat it. We must be triumphant over terror.”
As with most newspapers, The Daily Advertiser says it does screen advertisements to ensure that blatantly false, overly offensive or otherwise inappropriate content is kept out of the paper. But the paper’s president and publisher Karen J. Lincoln told ThinkProgress that the newspaper stood by its decision to run the ad. “We look at all of the ads, and the decision is made by each market,” she said. “This ad did meet our standards. The decision to run it was approved.” Lincoln also says that another ad from the same organization will run in tomorrow’s paper.” Think Progress
While this SOAR organization has the right to spew as much hate and lies as it wants, the amazing part is that the Daily Advertiser claimed that this garbage actually meets their “standards”! If this advertisement meets the paper’s standards, then the door should be wide open for any lie and disparaging advertisement to be run by that very same newspaper. If this ad meets the standards, is there any advertisement that won’t be accepted by the Daily Advertiser?
I searched the website for this newspaper and I found nothing that discusses just what are its standards for advertisements. The Advertiser Maybe you will have better luck than me in finding out just what standards The Advertiser uses to review proposed advertisements. Can you think of any advertisement that would not be accepted under these allegedly loose standards?
Can or should anything be done to prevent this kind of hate filled lies to be published by any newspaper? Does this kind of brutally false claim amount to actual malice and therefore allow Obama to sue the paper and/or the organization paying for the advertisement for defamation? Let’s hear your thoughts and ideas!