FIRST LOOK – “THIS IS THE WORST ECONOMIC RECOVERY AMERICA HAS EVER HAD.”That’s how Scott Pelley led the CBS Evening News on July 17, giving Crossroads GPS a great clip to lead its newest commercial with. The conservative advocacy group highlights “41 straight months of unemployment over 8 percent, almost four million fewer jobs than President Obama predicted and 23 million Americans without full-time work.” A female narrator says this is the direct result of “Obama’s failed stimulus policies.” The new spot, which goes on the air today, is part of a $25 million TV buy Crossroads GPS announced an hour after the weak jobs report on July 6. Many expect another weak report this Friday. The new spot will run in Florida, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
There’s no indication via the Googletron that Pelley has protested his involuntary inclusion in the attack, but journalists generally are not happy about this growing trend of campaigns appropriating news footage to kick political opponents, as John Harwood noted in the New York Times the other week:
More and more this election year, campaign ads include footage from television news programs, further blurring the fading lines separating modern journalism and politics. The trend bothers practitioners of journalism more than those in politics.
And the more it happens, the more it will happen, Harwood says:
Once campaigns feared complaints from prominent TV journalists — and the hassle of responding to the lawyers who spoke for them. Now ad makers from both parties shrug them off, as the prevalence of the practice increases their confidence that “fair use” broadcasting rules make legal threats toothless.
Which, in turn, threatens to make journalists toothless as well.