Since late May, the Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign has been running TV ads in the West Michigan market. Media Ad Ventures of Springfield, Virginia has bought 2 weeks of ad spots already on WZZM 13 and the three LIN TV stations in West Michigan (WOOD TV 8, WXSP, and WOTV). There have been 63 spots run on WZZM 13 for at a total price of $15,735. The spots have aired during a variety of programs, most notably during the NBA finals. Since WOOD TV 8 continues to be the TV ratings leader in the area, more spots of the McCain ad have run on the local NBC affiliate. In a two-week period, there have been 117 spots on WOOD TV 8 costing a total of $100, 525. Fewer spots have run its sister stations, with 75 spots running on WOTV at $4,225 and only 37 spots on WXSP for a cost of $1,665.
The ad that the McCain camp has been running in this market is called the “Safe” ad on McCain’s website and is clearly intended to humanize McCain and communicate his commitment to keeping the people of the US safe. Here is the text of the McCain ad:
“Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war. When I was five years old my father left for war. My grandfather came home from war and died the next day. I was shot down over Vietnam and spent five years as a POW. Some of the friends I served with never came home. I hate war and I know how terrible its costs are. I’m running for President to keep the country I love safe.”
As you listen to McCain speak you see a series of images–first a picture of his father, followed by his grandfather, what appears to be his crashed plane with the Viet Cong, McCain as a prisoner of war, and the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.
As with all political ads, it provides sound bites and half-truths. The ad doesn’t tell viewers that McCain’s father and grandfather were both Admirals in the US Navy. The ad also doesn’t provide any details of what happened to McCain during his years as a prisoner of war, even though there are now reports that he may have cooperated with the Viet Cong by providing information. McCain states in the ad that he “hates war.” If this were so, why would he continue to support the financing of both the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? It also seems strange that someone who hates war would be has been the chair of the International Republican Institute (IRI) since 1993, especially since this group has been a major supporter of war and a recipient of financial support from some of the biggest war profiteers. According to a story posted on CounterPunch by Nikolas Kozloff, the IRI has received major financial support from Blackwater USA, Chevron, and Lockheed Martin.