Baldwin campaign asks TV stations to stop airing ‘deceptive’ ECI ads


On Tuesday I examined an ad that the Emergency Committee for Israel is running on TV in Wisconsin attacking  Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Democrats’ nominee for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. I argued that the ad was misleading on several counts.

Yesterday, Politico reported that the Baldwin campaign’s lawyers have been asking television stations to stop airing the ad, calling it in a letter "clearly false, misleading and deceptive" and suggesting that allowing such advertising could endanger a station’s license.


The campaign’s letter to TV stations notes some of the same issues I had raised. It also makes another noteworthy point regarding the pairing of images of armed and masked Palestinians with the ad’s assertion that Baldwin "called terrorists who attacked Israel ‘innocent victims.’"

Here’s what the lawyers’ letter says on this issue:

…the advertisement claims that Congresswoman Baldwin "called terrorists who attacked Israel innocent victims," while showing photographs of masked men firing rockets and using assault weapons. The imagery misleads your viewers into believing that the Congresswoman was calling those who fire rockets into Israel "innocent victims." However, the Congresswoman’s statement was in connection with a confrontation over a flotilla headed to Gaza. Whatever one’s position on the blockade, this incident had nothing to do with masked men with rocket launchers and assault weapons, as is depicted in the ad.

(In the interest of accuracy, it should be noted that the ad actually shows masked men brandishing, but not firing, rockets and assault weapons.)

The ECI penned a letter with a point-by-point response to the Baldwin campaign’s complaints. ECI’s letter does not, however, address the charge of mismatched images, rather simply arguing that those aboard the Gaza flotilla whom Baldwin labeled "innocent victims" were in fact "terrorists."

ECI’s executive director, Noah Pollak, told Politico: "These undemocratic tactics vindicate the message of our ad — that Baldwin doesn’t want voters to know how extreme her foreign policy record is."

Politico links to Baldwin’s letter and ECI’s response. You can see the ad and my analysis here.

Pollak is claiming credit for helping to drive up Baldwin’s unfavorable ratings. (Here’s the poll.)

Recommended from JTA