June 30, 2016

By now I'm sure you know about the pro-Trump ad created by the NRA Political Victory Fund featuring a Benghazi survivor who denounces Hillary Clinton while walking through a graveyard (above).

Military contractor Mark "Oz" Geist says in the ad:

A lot of people say they’re not going to vote this November because their candidate didn’t win; well, I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either. Hillary as president? No thanks. I served in Benghazi. My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.”

A lot has been said about this ad, which is the subject of a $2 million ad buy from the NRA PAC -- but let me just add this:

How many Americans died in Benghazi?


And how many tombstones do you see in this still from the ad?

Dozens, maybe more than a hundred. The ad is filled with tombstones. This shot, with rows on rows of tombstones, is what you see when Geist says, "I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either." You also see rows of tombstones when Geist says, "My friends didn't make it."

Everyone with a knowledge of recent history knows that Benghazi was far from the worst attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in recent decades. Most notably, each of the three attacks in Lebanon during Ronald Reagan's presidency killed more people. I'm not trying to downplay the loss of life in Benghazi, but it didn't result in this many U.S. graves -- but the makers of this ad want the viewer to believe, at least on a subconscious level, that it did. The ad can't just ascribe four deaths to her. It has to make her seem like a mass murderer on a grand scale.

There's a lot wrong with this ad beyond the obvious. You may know that the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens doesn't blame Clnton for his death -- but Media Matters points out that Geist, prior to appearing in the ad, also said he didn't blame her:

“Do I hold her accountable? No. You know who I hold accountable is al-Sharia,” he said. “That’s who attacked them. That’s who killed the ambassador.”

And it should be noted that the NRA says the ad was partly filmed in a national cemetery, apparently in violation of government regulations:

The Department of Veterans Affairs has seen the advertisement, issuing a statement to ABC News that reflects the agency’s strict prohibition of filming campaign ads on national cemetery property that contains the graves of military personnel, veterans and their spouses.

"To date, the National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs has not received or approved any filming requests of this nature," VA spokesman James Hutton told ABC News. “NCA did not receive a request from the NRA to film the subject advertisement. If we had received such a request, we would have denied it based on the partisan content.

"As always, our veterans, their families and survivors are our top priority. To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints, or for uses that are (or may be interpreted as) an endorsement of a commercial entity," Hutton said.

The ad dishonors dead U.S. troops and implies that Hillary Clinton's actions led to many more than four deaths. Appalling.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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