A Tasteless Display of Drivel

The thematic mantra emanating from the Obama administration this week has been a general lamentation of the “coarsening of our political dialogue.”

So you can imagine my shock and indignation, while commuting to work on the Washington Metro this morning, when my attention wandered from the dulcet tones of Mark Levin’s podcast commentary and my eyes focused on an inflammatory back page advertisement in the Washington Post Company’s daily tabloid Express. Sponsored by a website called Avaaz.org, the ad featured a large picture of former Vice President Dick Cheney with the caption “Could this be Al Qaeda’s best recruiter?” followed by “Close Guantanamo. End Torture. Investigate All Abuses.”


Sufficiently angered by the disrespect shown to not only one of the country’s most effective Vice Presidents but also the men and women of our armed services and intelligence agencies (all of whom have kept the nation safe and protect the very rights permitting such contemptible displays), upon finally arriving to work, I quickly signed on to my Internet browser for a bit of Nancy Drew investigation. Here are my findings:

Avaaz.org advertises itself as “a community of global citizens who take action on the major issues facing the world today. The aim of Avaaz.org is to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decisions.” That is, to ensure a voice for the views and values of the world’s people who promote provocative activism on such issues as human rights (especially as they pertain to that bastion of evil – the USA), ending the war in Iraq, and global warming… Your basic liberal nightmare group.

The ad that disturbed me so much this morning apparently is part of a metro billboard campaign the group is sponsoring “to remind policymakers that torture is illegal, unethical and a top recruiting tool for the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.” The group’s website says the ads will be running at the Farragut North Metro Station and in Washington papers.

In addition to the tasteless display of drivel to which I was treated this morning, there will be other editions of the ads. One has Osama bin Laden in an “I love Gitmo” t-shirt (in the wake of bin Laden’s recent endorsement of Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” it might be more fitting to feature the terrorist in an “I love Jimmy Carter” t-shirt) and another quotes from President Obama and Senator John McCain.


Though these ads appear to have a limited scope, due to the group’s D.C. focus, they are nonetheless disturbing and deserve a response. The MoveOn.org General Petraeus “General Betray Us” advertisement in the New York Times two years ago garnered mass condemnation by a wide variety of powerful political leaders. We ought to demand a similar response to these Avaaz.org ads. Any less is an insult to those who fight each and every day to maintain our freedom to even have a commute.

This post was written by Caroline May, policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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