What if that ad attacking mosque near Ground Zero is a stunt?
By now you may have heard that a shadowy right-wing group is getting lots of attention because two major networks have refused to run its despicable, bigoted ad attacking plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
But what if the whole thing is a big stunt, and the ad was never intended to run, but just to get press attention? A source at one of the networks that turned it down shares new info with me that raises this question.
In case you missed the whole flap, the National Republican Trust PAC, a major player during the 2008 cycle, says it tried to run an ad on CBS and NBC that says this:
"On Sept. 11, they declared war against us. And to celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans, they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at ground zero."
The networks turned it down, and NBC said it rejected the ad because it used the term "they," without specifying whether this meant the group building the mosque or Muslims in general. The group is now getting lots of attention by claiming that they are being censored by a media that's "only interested in defending Muslims as poor victims."
But an NBC source tells me the group never approached the network with an actual ad buy sum it was prepared to pay. (The group insisted to the New York Daily News that it was planning to spend $50,000.) What's more, the source says once the ad was rejected, the group never even tried to gauge if there were some kind of minor change they could make to the ad to make it suitable to run.
What's more, according to the Web site Little Green Footballs, the group is now trying to raise money off the networks' decision to reject the ad, suggesting they aren't exactly crushed by this rejection. I've emailed the group for comment and will update if I hear back.
In other words, this may have just been a stunt that deserves to be ignored. It's an open secret in Washington that groups will sometimes create ads that are so inflammatory that they are likely to get rejected, leading to free press attention. Seems like this one may belong to this genre.
July 15, 2010; 1:26 PM ET
Categories: Foreign policy and national security , Political media
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