The Republican National Committee is threatening television stations that dare to air a Democratic National Committee ad reprising the misleading statements President George W. Bush made in his State of the Union address. The Democrat’s “Read His Lips” ad says in part, “It’s time to tell ‘the truth. Hold President Bush accountable with ‘an independent, bipartisan investigation. Go to www.democrats.org/truth to sign the petition. Because America deserves the truth.”In a letter to station managers in Madison, Wisconsin, where the ad has run, Caroline Hunter, a Republican Party lawyer, wrote:It has come to our attention that your station will begin airing false and misleading advertisements. … The Democratic National Committee … has no right to willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people. … As an FCC licensee you have a responsibility to … avoid deliberate misrepresentations of the facts. Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.
Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.