NBC and CBS yesterday (wisely) rejected a demented National Republican Trust PAC ad called "Kill the Ground Zero Mosque." But did the PAC really intend to buy air time, or was it a stunt to raise money online? Doesn't matter.
The ad — which essentially said that the Muslims behind 9/11 (all Muslims) now want to "celebrate" their hatred of America by building an Al-Qaeda mosque on the World Trade Center's ashes from which to plot more Evil — is getting a fair amount of attention online after yesterday's network rejections. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent seems to think that this was the brilliant plan all along:
But an NBC source tells me the group never approached the network with an actual ad buy sum it was prepared to pay. (The group insisted to the New York Daily News that it was planning to spend $50,000.) What's more, the source says once the ad was rejected, the group never even tried to gauge if there were some kind of minor change they could make to the ad to make it suitable to run.
What's more, according to the Web site Little Green Footballs, the group is now trying to raise money off the networks' decision to reject the ad, suggesting they aren't exactly crushed by this rejection. I've emailed the group for comment and will update if I hear back.
In other words, this may have just been a stunt that deserves to be ignored. It's an open secret in Washington that groups will sometimes create ads that are so inflammatory that they are likely to get rejected, leading to free press attention. Seems like this one may belong to this genre.
That "open secret" of a trick is mostly for candidates or organizations with no money or public awareness, but the NRT PAC is pretty well-funded. It could afford the ad buy and, were networks to accept it, It would raise infinitely more money from television exposure than it would from fleeting, semi-viral video fame.
Also, why ignore it? If lots of people decide to give money to the PAC that made *this* disgusting ad, whether they saw it on TV or the Internet, then that's a real problem in the body politic: people are actually agreeing with this shit.