CNN's Brown called MoveOn.org "American insurgents"November 29, 2007 11:53 AM EST ››› BRIAN LEVY
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During the November 28 CNN special Campaign Killers: Why Do Negative Ads Work?, CNN anchor Campbell Brown said: "General David Petraeus made his reputation taking on insurgents in Iraq. But when he came to Capitol Hill in September, he was confronted by American insurgents, a liberal anti-war group called MoveOn.org."
Brown also asserted that a MoveOn.org advertisement headlined "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" "became a huge news story because it questioned the loyalty of a wartime commander, implying he was a traitor." In asserting that the content of the advertisement generated news coverage, Brown did not point out the claim by many commentators that the ad "became a huge news story" because Republicans preferred to talk about it rather than Petraeus' testimony before Congress about the situation in Iraq:
- On the September 17 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes said to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA):
COLMES: Getting to the MoveOn.org ad, rather than talk about the strategy, rather than talk about how well things are going in Iraq, rather than debating whether what Petraeus is saying, what Bush wants to do is the right future for the country, we're being sidetracked by talking about an ad put out by an organization.
Doesn't that really help conservatives? Because if we were really talking about the strategy and how poorly things were really going, you'd have a harder fight.
- Time magazine columnist Michael Kinsley wrote in a September 19 column:
But whatever your interpretation of the ad, all the gasping for air and waving of scented handkerchiefs among the war's most enthusiastic supporters is pretty comical.
It's all phony, of course. The war's backers are obviously delighted to have this ad from which they can make an issue.
The last thing that supporters of the war want to talk about at this point is the war. They'd far rather talk about this insult to General Petraeus.
- Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin wrote in a September 20 online column:
But how did a newspaper advertisement, of all things, become such a hot topic in the political discourse about the war? The answer: Republicans in Washington see it as a winning issue.
That's the case even though there were legitimate concerns expressed about Petraeus's selective use of statistics both before and after his testimony; even though a Washington Post poll before his testimony showed most Americans expected him to try to make things look better than they are; and even though the newest polls clearly show the public didn't buy what Petraeus was selling.
From the November 28 CNN special Campaign Killers: Why Do Negative Ads Work?:
BROWN: General David Petraeus made his reputation taking on insurgents in Iraq. But when he came to Capitol Hill in September, he was confronted by American insurgents, a liberal anti-war group called MoveOn.org. MoveOn bought this full-page ad in The New York Times. It accused Petraeus of betraying us by cooking the books on progress in Iraq.
MoveOn's executive director, Eli Pariser.
PARISER: The goal was not to necessarily persuade, you know, lots of voters, it was to get the ad talked about and get that critique of what the general was saying, talked about.
BROWN: But what the general said on Iraq was overshadowed by what MoveOn said about the general.
PRESIDENT BUSH [video clip]: I thought the ad was disgusting.
BROWN: The ad became a huge news story because it questioned the loyalty of a wartime commander, implying he was a traitor.
BUSH [video clip]: I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. military.
BROWN: Many Democrats, too, were embarrassed by the ad and distanced themselves from MoveOn, the left wing of their own party.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI) [video clip]: I hope we all condemn the ad in The New York Times.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV) [video clip]: An unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus.
LEVIN [video clip]: I thought it was a disgraceful ad.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX) [video clip]: It is not OK.
BROWN: But as congressional Republicans engineered landslide votes to condemn MoveOn, the organization says its anti-war membership was sending in cash, a million and a half dollars. MoveOn made no apologies.
PARISER: Sometimes you have to just lay the issues out in very clear, stark terms and fight the fight.