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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Misunderstanding the McCain Ad

In light of the racial controversy that it ignited, this McCain ad has gotten more attention than it deserves.

Frankly, I find it stupid, silly and downright disprespectful to compare Barack Obama to either Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton. controversyIs it racist though? Bill Press certainly thinks so.

Of all the famous celebrities they could have compared Obama to, why not Tom Cruise? Or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Donald Trump, or Oprah Winfrey? Why Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? Why two white blond bimbos?

Only one reason. It's a somewhat tamer version of the white bimbo ad used so successfully against Harold Ford in Tennessee. In juxtaposing Barack Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the McCain campaign is simply trying to plant the old racist seed of black man hitting on young white woman. Not directly, but subliminally and disgracefully.

Bill Press can't really be this dense. After all, the reason that Spears and Hilton were used is they are generally famous for being famous. That is the comparison. The ad tries to say that this guy is not famous for any other reason but that he is famous. The subliminal message is that Obama is here by accident and that he has done nothing to get here. That's why they didn't use Oprah, Donald Trump, et al. All those have legitimate reasons for fame.

Now, again, I find the comparison trivial and way too provocative but the comparison is supposed to elicit the point that he is an empty suit. They were NOT chosen for some racial reason. What I can't figure out is how a relatively intelligent guy as Bill Press couldn't understand the point. After all, there is plenty to criticize when you do understand the point of the ad. It's almost as though he is stoking racial fears where he knows there aren't any. That couldn't possibly happen in the media could it? (snicker in cynical indignation here)

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