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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.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 15, 2010; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security , Political media  
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Let us know when you have any information that comes from someone with a name. Mmkay?

Posted by: Bailers | July 15, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

That guy at LGF comes up with some pretty damning evidence exposing right wing conspiracies ranging on a whole host of subjects. He's one of my daily must read sites.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Why ignore? Actually, I'd like to see it discussed, especially if the group(s) that sponsored it are major players and not just a gaggle of extremists or something. Or if they're both major players and a gaggle of extremists, which is kind of where The National Republican Trust stands.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 15, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain actually did something like this during the campaign. He tried to show us his classy side by emailing out an attack ad that he decided to axe. Yet somehow, the ad got circulated anyways.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 15, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

There's no way to read that "they" so that it isn't bigoted. The "they" who declared war on us was al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda is not building a mosque in New York City. So even if the "they" that NBC objected to referred only to the mosque-builders and not to all Muslims, it is still a hideous slander and something civilized people would be ashamed to attach their names to.

If a major Republican group is funding an ad like this, then it is news, even if they meant it to be a stunt. And it exposes that group as a pack of vile barbarians.

Posted by: scarpy | July 15, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

There are times when I look at my (lower than I'd like) bank account and think to myself that maybe I should just be a Republican.

Freakin' dupes are a dime a dozen, and anyone with half a brain and a bit of moral grey area can get their hands on some serious bank pretty quickly. Conservatives around this country are worked up into such a scared frenzy, you could sell anti-Obama tinfoil hates and you'd make a mint.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 15, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"to celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans"

Over 300 of those murdered on 9/11 were foreign nationals. Now a bunch of Republican bigots feel a need to turn all of those people into Americans? Why? Is it only a tragedy if we can count them in the "murdered Americans" column?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | July 15, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse


* Ex-Justice official: CIA interrogators used unauthorized techniques on detainees *

CIA interrogators exceeded legal limits on harsh interrogations of al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush administration, according to a former top Justice Department official who was interviewed by congressional investigators.

House Democrats said Thursday that Jay S. Bybee, who headed the department's Office of Legal Counsel, told them in May that he never approved a number of interrogation techniques used on detainees in CIA custody. Techniques his office did approve -- such as waterboarding, the simulated drowning of terror suspects -- were used too many times on detainees, Bybee told investigators.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

How about this ad?

"On June, 8, 1967, they attacked the USS Liberty in cold blood. They murdered 34 US servicemen and wounded 134 others. Then their spy stole reams of our nuclear secrets so they could sell them to the Soviet Union. Then they sold our most top-secret military technologies to Communist China. Now they want another $4 billion this year from America's taxpayers with no strings attached..."

Would the National Republican Trust PAC support running this ad?

Posted by: Garak | July 15, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Polls show that a majority of New Yorkers agree with the ad. Does Greg Sargent think that New Yorkers and the families of 9/11 victims are despicable and bigoted?

Posted by: johnyt1977 | July 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This is a ridiculous article. First of all, I've seen the ad. It's not bigoted. Only a clueless idiot like Greg Sargent who knows next to nothing about Islam would say that. The ad says the Mosque is being built as a monument to 9/11. And that's exactly what the purpose of the Mosque is(a monument to Islam's victory on 9/11). Why else do you think the Mosque's sponsors are so intent at building at this location? If they cared about interfaith harmony, they would not inflame passions and provoke Christians and Jews by building a mosque at this location(they could easily build it somewhere else but no they stubbornly must show their insensitivity to Americans and victims and must build it at Ground Zero). And Islamic supremacist tradition involves building mosques as symbols of Islamic dominion and conquest(the Cordova Mosque---which the group---the Cordova Initiative--supporting this Mosque praises was built precisely as a monument to Islam's conquest of Spain---likewise this is a monument to Islam's victory on 9/11) Further, the imam building the Mosque believes Christians and Jews and women and gays are second class citizens(as the imam believes in sharia law which relegates Christians, Jews, non Muslims, women and gays to second class status he believes these things---his denials to the contrary are lies). Of course, idiot Greg Sargent has not the slightest criticism for the imam's bigoted views against Christians, Jews, women and gays. Doubtless if the imam wanted to run an ad supporting the Ground Zero mosque, Greg Sargent(and idiots like Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg who are also supporting the Mosques construction) would support it. And the funding sources(100$ million) are of dubious origin(at the very least one should examine the funding to determine if terrorist elements are funding this but no----idiots like Greg Sargent won't do that either). And, moreover, what business do CBS and NBC(public stations) have to censor political ads they don't like? Why is this censorship tolerated? I encourage people not only to reject Greg Sargent's idiot writings on this matter but to donate to the group running the ad. No American(Democrat or Republican) should want this stupid Mosque built at Ground Zero. This is hardly a unifying act and the project should be cancelled in its entirety. That stupid politicians and people like Greg Sargent would support this insensitive Mosque building at this site is disgraceful. We Americans don't have to stand for this.

Posted by: ConstantineXI | July 15, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

No wonder nobody watches ABC, NBC, MSLSD, CNN, etc...apparently by not accepting the ad, they support terrorist activities.

Posted by: NO-bama | July 15, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The idea of a Mosque at Ground Zero is going to bring up a lot of emotion. People will always have intense feelings about what happend on 9/11. I think we need a place where there we can get to know each other. The anger and fear is a sign that we need to get to know each other. Hate is not a teaching in Islam. We are actually commanded to give peace to those who don't know what Islam is about.

And the servants of the Almighty who walk on the Earth in humility and if the ignorant speak to them, they Say: "Peace." (Quran 25:63)

Posted by: fredskribent | July 17, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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