WASHINGTON - March 31 - Calling one of the Bush-Cheney campaign TV ads racially offensive, a newly-formed national organization, 2004 Racism Watch, urged them to either change a part of it or pull it off their website and stop using it.
The ad in question, 100 Days, was released on March 11th. Dr. James J. Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, wrote to Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman the next day and referred to a portion of the ad where reference is made to terrorism and terrorists while highlighting a photograph of an anonymous man of Middle-Eastern descent.
Zogby said, the use of this type of imagery can only reinforce and build upon the fear and suspicion that law-abiding Arab Americans and Arab immigrants are already subject to. I ask that you immediately change the advertisement. . .
Over two weeks later, the ad has not been changed and it is available for viewing by anyone in the world at www.georgewbush.com/tvads/.
Edward Asner, a member of the Advisory Committee of 2004 Racism Watch, asked if this is just the first of a series planned by the Bush-Cheney campaign. Many of us remember the infamous Willie Horton ad used by George Bushs campaign in 1992. For his son to have approved, 12 years later, the use of a racially offensive picture in one of his very first campaign ads is disturbing. Will this type of practice be used throughout the 2004 campaign? I call upon all people of good will to contact the national Bush-Cheney headquarters to express your concern and outrage.
2004 Racism Watch was founded two months ago at a national meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Others on its Advisory Committee include Ed Begley, Jr., Noam Chomsky, Ron Daniels, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Manning Marable, Elizabeth Martinez, Cynthia McKinney, Phil Tajitsu Nash, Susan Sarandon, Ron Walters, Tim Wise and Howard Zinn.