A new television ad running on TV stations throughout Minnesota is creating controversy because of its pro-war message.
Last week, when KARE 11 began running the ad, which is paid for by the “Progress for America Voter Fund,” a number of viewers called the station to voice concerns.
“It was such a distorted, extreme point of view,” said one viewer.
Another said, “It was run during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night. I think that was the worst possible taste you could have had.”
Viewer anger has been directed at the ad, which features Minnesota veterans trying to build support for the war in Iraq.
The Progress for America Voter Fund spent more than $700,000, in the Twin Cities market, to get the ad on the air.
The fund is the same group that spent millions of dollars attacking John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign and has continued running ads promoting President Bush's policies and nominees.
In the latest ad, one of the lines most troubling to viewers is this one delivered by a Marine reservist from Woodbury:
“You'd never know it from the news reports, but our enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda,” says Lt. Col. Bob Stephenson. “The same terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.”
On Monday, Stephenson said the ad technically is accurate, because al Qaeda has been in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. In July 2004, the commission appointed by Congress to study 9/11 reported there was no link between the 9/11 attack and Saddam Hussein.
“I'd like to remind everybody that the ad does not claim that the U.S. went into Iraq looking for al Qaeda,” he said.
Stephenson also said he has received several calls from family and friends who’ve seen the ad.
But former Marine Andrew Borene, who's now running for state senate as a Democrat, says “good Americans can say things that aren't true,” and the ad does not match what he called "objective reality."
“I'm concerned that (the Bush administration) spent more time working on the spin operation – and PR operations here in America – than they have working to accomplish the actual mission in Iraq.”
As for KARE-11's position, general manager John Remes issued a statement saying, “The station neither agrees nor disagrees with the messages in advertising, but one of our responsibilities is to be an advocate for freedom of expression and to provide a marketplace of ideas.”
The ad is scheduled to run through next Wednesday.
By Scott Goldberg, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2006 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)