Thursday, July 27, 2006
Coulter Rewrites Willie Horton Ads
In 1988, Ann Coulter was probably too busy finishing up law school to follow the Bush-Dukakis race very closely, but she devoted a chapter of her latest book to the infamous Willie Horton ads. There are no citations of sources for the excerpts included in this post, which is just as well, since most of the "facts" are anything but...
From Ann Coulter's Godless (Chapter 3, p. 66):
There are actually two Willie Horton ads, and they are generally conflated. Both were terrific ads. The Bush campaign's Willie Horton ad never showed a picture of Horton, which complicated their sneaky plan to appeal to Americans'nearly hysterical hatred of black people. The only ad to show Horton's face was produced by an independent group that included Horton's victims, Cliff Barnes and Angela Miller. The victims' ad was made on a shoestring budget and was probably seen by about six people in West Virginia.
Actually, Ann, there were four Willie Horton ads.
One official Bush campaign ad called "Revolving Door."
Two ads "produced by an independent group that included Horton's victims, Cliff Barnes and Angela Miller" respectively in each one (a clip of the Miller spot can be seen approximately 1 minute 50 seconds into this YouTube video). And those ads began running in California where presumably more than six people viewed them.
The fourth is only one of the most famous campaign ads of all time, one that isn't mentioned in Coulter's entire chapter on Willie Horton even once: The infamous "Weekend Passes" advertisement (Video link) was "independently" produced by GOP consultant Larry McCarthy, who had once worked for former Bush media consultant Roger Ailes (and the "one-man production company" also responsible for "Weekend Passes" also had ties to Ailes).
(The Federal Election Commission later investigated possible coordination between the official Bush campaign and the "independent" admakers but the commissioners ended up "deadlocked" at 3 to 3; here's a link to some interesting emails supposedly from Ailes on the Horton ads, if they're not authentic they are at least a hoot to read).
"Weekend Passes" certainly contains shots of Horton's face. Two. Though not in the commercial's original airings. The Horton shots were apparently added later.
"But almost immediately after it began running, as a Brown University study of the ad revealed, GOP consultant Larry McCarthy, who worked for National Security PAC, stealthily inserted a looming mug shot of Horton in a substitute version of the ad, revealing the convict to be -- ta da! -- an African-American," Jake Tapper reported for Salon in 2000. "McCarthy said the photo of Horton used in the ad was 'every suburban mother's greatest fear.'"
"Their first ad did not use the menacing mug shot of Horton that made him look, in the eyes of the ad's creator Larry McCarthy, like 'every suburban mother's greatest fear,'" according to a study conducted by Brown University. "That picture might arouse the ire of network censors, who could refuse to run controversial ads by independent groups. However, after the ad cleared media scrutiny, McCarthy quietly substituted a second version that graphically cited the Horton case and used the now-controversial mug shot of the felon."
From Ann Coulter's Godless (Chapter 3, p. 71):
Meanwhile, the Bush campaign bent over backwards to avoid any acknowledgment of the fact that Horton was black, going to the ridiculous extreme of showing all white people in prison.
Bush's campaign ad certainly did not only show "all white people in prison."
"But the official campaign ad never mentioned Horton's name; and, of the 19 "prisoners" making their way through the "revolving door" of the Massachusetts penal system, 16 were white, two black and one Latino," Tapper wrote for Salon.
"Revolving Door" can be seen at the The Living Room Candidate Website. Watch the dark-skinned male with the large Afro walk through the "revolving door." And if you missed it the first time, don't worry because the very next scene shows the very same man walking through the very same "revolving door" this time from a wider angle.
And I'm just getting started on this chapter...more to come...including more factual errors and non-citation of sources (technically plagiarism).
Click for Homepage to see countless examples of factual errors and possible plagiarism by Ann Coulter found by The Rude Pundit; the plagiarism expert commissioned by The New York Post; and from my work at Raw Story and here.