Midwest Heroes, Media Backlash

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Feb 27, 2006 9:48 AM

Have you watched the "Midwest Heroes" commercials, running in Minnesota right now? They're great. (My bad. Forgot the link, but fixed now.)

Gold Star families talk about their loved lost ones, Iraq as the front line in the War on Terror, and the need to finish the job.

Funnily enough (that's right, funnily), the same media folks who thought Cindy Sheehan had "absolute moral authority" don't think these Gold Star families have much authority at all.

One Minnesota station has already rejected the ads on the singularly flimsy premise that the ads are inaccurate. The particular claim the TV station objects to is the ads' claims that, "the media only reports the bad news" and "you would never know it from the news reports, but the enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda."

KSTP doesn't think that claim applies to them, although Newsbusters found plenty of negative news on the station's website. Totally wimpy and transparent. Just run the frickin' ad.

In other fun media news, PowerLine is following the coverage of the Minneapolis Star-Trib's always-fair, always-pleasant Nick Coleman. And, then talking to the ombudsman(ombudswoman, ombudsperson?), and covering her coverage of Nick Coleman's coverage.

It's so much fun. Just check it out.

The Minnesota Daily, a college paper in Minneapolis, gets predictably angsty and self-righteous about the ads. But I give 'em points for going the extra mile by throwing a conspiracy theory into the last paragraph of an editorial:

This manufactured propaganda once again showcases the Bush administration’s utter contempt for real democracy and the level it will sink to to sell their failing policies. It is interesting to note that according to a congressional analysis, the Bush administration has spent more than $250 million from taxpayers on "public relations" contracts during its first term, compared to the Clinton administration spent, which spent $128 million over the span of two terms.

Um, guys? The ads are funded by Progress for America, a 527 created and financed by folks who choose to give their money to causes they believe in, so I'm not sure what they have to do with President Bush or his "public relations" budget.

Also, citizens banding together to work on a cause they all believe in, raising enough money to run ads and, thereby, attempt to influence the public on a subject about which they're passionate? Pretty daggone democratic. I might even call it "real democracy."

The Minnesota Daily also takes issue with the fact that one of the mothers featured in the commercials is a soldier's stepmother, not his real mother, you see? His real mother, is anti-war.

I have a feeling the Daily's criteria for determining real motherhood is less about genetics than it is about politics.