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October 26, 2006

Michael J. Fox

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The NYT describes it as one of the most powerful political ads ever made.

But then, The Times wipes its feet on it by pigeonholing the spot as primarily an attack ad.  To frame Michael J. Fox side-by-side with Willie Horton is not only disgusting, it misses the whole point of why this ad is shattering.

In less than thirty seconds, Michael offers us an enormous dose of qualities we’ve hardly seen a genuine political drop of in years.  Passion, genuineness, pain and honesty are the first to come to mind.

For Fox to expose himself and unmask his Parkinsonian symptoms side-effects (they go hand-in-hand, Rush) in the name of a coherent and humane stem cell policy has next-to-nothing to do with the Johnson daisy ad.  The Johnson ad is a simple, two-dimensional (if highly effective) piece of fear mongering — not unlike the fear-mongering this unqualified and hateful administration has been suffocating us with almost every minute since Bush and his cronies made off with the 2000 election.

In contrast, Mr. Fox is full of feeling and real life.  Maybe Americans have long lost any sense of what intimate, unselfconscious (and yes, partisan) political communication might actually look like?

And then, going back to The Times article, is it our pitiful legacy that the best analogy to describe this ad is to liken it to an Iraq hostage video?

(You Tube Ad video here.)



(screen shots: McCaskill for U.S. Senate – claireonline.com via YouTube)

  • limapup

    Elesvan Bello, head of the Peruvian Air Force under Fujimori and Montesinos said best: “If we don’t have the [media]we can’t do anything. Fujimori controlled the masses via the media using them to keep reminding Peruvians that they had to be “afraid” on a daily basis. The media became the chosen method of public control. It would do Amricans good to see the documentary “State of Fear” by Pamela Yates, director. After seeing the film (which included the Vladivideos showing the media buy-out by Montesisnos ad Bello), I understood that the Bush Administration had been using Fujimori’s methods to do the same controlling in the US. No wonder this film has not been aired in American television. National Geographics International has aired it around the world. They were not permitted to air it in the US. Beware.

  • mugatea

    Rush is the new face of Walt Disney.
    Mickey, Winnie, Rush … What happened?
    Remember what he said on the ESPN football show they placed him on for a few weeks?
    Was that around an election too? Sick way to rally the base.
    As for the images – if he was acting(not) – he’s a better actor than I thought he was.

  • margaret

    And then, going back to The Times article, is it our pitiful legacy that the best analogy to describe this ad is to liken it to an Iraq hostage video?
    The “pitiful legacy” is the state of education in journalism schools which does not arrest the shallow, sorry thinking of their students. I’m thinking of the then editor of my college newspaper (now, do doubt sitting in a newsroom in some city, today) to dish out the lame “analogy” I heard from him in our German Lit class: “What do Friedrich Nietzsche and Norman Vincent Peale have in common?” The wry answer from the professor, “Nothing.”
    One wonders at the depth of education and memory (acknowledgement of history), not to mention perception, contemporary journalists have when they write such things as you posted. Unless, there really is a hidden agenda and the Times is biased against Democrats. You think?

  • Doctor Jay

    Olberman did a long segment on this which is available on
    Crooks and Liars
    . Olberman pointed out that Fox has done ads for Arlen Spector in the past, praising Spectors support of biomedical research.
    It is an issue ad. It is hard hitting. It is courageous. It does call a politician to account for their policy choices. So I guess you could call it an attack ad. But somehow, it’s the kind of attack ad I like. It doesn’t impugn anyone’s character.
    I think that one of the emerging themes of this campaign is that Democrats are no longer afraid. The Republicans are showing themselves to be the party of fearmongers and of fears. That works until someone shows up and can face tough issues without being afraid.

  • http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org Nezua-Limón Xolografik-Jonez

    If I had an egg I’d give it to Michael J. Fox. Even if he did play a Republican on TV.

  • jt from BC

    limapup, Yes ” State of Fear” is excellent and was partly financed by CBC TV and shown in Canada in the fall of 2005. I believe KOCH Entertainment has acquired the DVD rights. It may be available now or info @
    Dan Gurlitz
    Vice President – Video
    KOCH Entertainment
    22 Harbor Park Drive
    Port Washington, NY 11050
    516-484-1000 x206
    [email protected]

  • KingElvis

    I wish to God MSNBC would change it’s web ads. Everytime I see Limbaugh I want to first vomit, then murder a Republican – preferably him. Do we have to see this despicable insect even on liberal sites? God.

  • http://molly.douthett.net momly

    I followed a series of links from Crooks and Liars that educated (gasp!) me about Parkinson’s the other day. It seems that the symptoms we see in this ad are the symptoms of being ON the medication. If he were off his meds, he would be immobile.
    So, not only is Rush a pig, he is an ignorant pig.
    But we all knew that.

  • http://molly.douthett.net momly

    I think MJF is one of the most human actors on TV today. Has anyone caught his guest star gig on Boston Legal lately? Wow.

  • lower_case A

    limapup – Excellent comment on the parallels between our media woes and Fujimori’s use of the media. Just excellent! I will be looking for that documentary.
    The Michael J. Fox ad is not an attack ad, from my perspective. I live in MO, and have seen it many times. This is an issue ad that presents one side. The NYT, in calling it an attack ad, is simply equivocating. I believe someone got the ear of their corporate masters again.
    Something must be done about the state of the media in the U.S. if we are to have any hope of saving what little democracy we have.

  • limapup
  • GeorgeF

    Even here in Germany the ad was worth a headline in the leading Weekly “Der Spiegel”: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,444882,00.html

  • lower_case A

    Thank you, limapup. I know the story, but didn’t know about this film. I’m going back to order it now.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Wait. There is *no reason* for the New York Times to ever quote Rush Limbaugh. Not EVER. Not under any circumstances. No matter what he says.
    He is not a legitimate authority, expert, or spokesman on *any* topic, he’s not an intellect or a person of *any* importance. He is a talentless “personality.” He’s a HACK. He’s a performing seal. (No offense to seals.) There is no justification to put him in a story.
    He’s a DJ!
    Yet the Times quotes him OFTEN.
    The Times quotes Rush Limbaugh *so often* that I’ve actually wondered if it’s someone’s full-time job to call him up and ask him questions for every Times story.
    By quoting Rush Limbaugh, the Times elevates him as a legitimate placeholder in our *political* dialogue. He has no place. In any legitimate dialogue.
    It’s not us, it’s not our imagination. The Times writer, Alessandra Stanley, wrote a shameful fluff piece on a real issue. Her take is so off in every regard, so downright *inappropriate,* I thought she was an inexperienced twenty-something blogger with a Michelle Malkin vibe. But I looked her up and she’s not; she seems to be a veteran reporter. But this piece is so *subjective,* so strangely skewed Republican, I have to wonder if she got paid extra for every Republican plug and every Democrat dig.
    Michael J. Fox is an entertainer with a real and terrible disease. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. There is *no* connection. We do not need to know what Rush thinks about it.
    Once again, the Times SUCKS.

  • Mad_nVT

    Oh, but Limbaugh does have a disease.
    He is a drug addict.
    Further, he was recently caught with an un-prescribed prescription drug- which I think should have gotten him sent to prison with all of the worst kinds of criminals and sexual predators. But somehow he got off.
    The drug they caught him with was a pecker enhancer, because his manhood must be a little short.

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    The present day analogue to the famous Tony Schwartz daisy ad is the RNC’s current ticking clock Al Qaida ad. They even use the same phrase, “These are the stakes.”
    Watched Larry King on 10/26/06 as he devoted most of the hour to current political attack ads. He showed the RNC ad but did not show the DNC “stay the course” ad. Par for the course.

  • http://laloca.org antonia

    limapup/lowercaseA:
    “state of fear” is an apologia for the inaction of the white ruling class during the sendero years. it’s an appalling piece of propaganda that takes news footage out of context, juxtaposes events that occurred months and years apart, and attempts to absolve limenos of any responsibility for what happened in the sierra.
    it should be watched with a critical eye toward the actual events in peru from the early 80s to the mid 90s. amazingly enough, simply going through el comercio archives debunks much of the movie.
    additionally, it’s preposterous to compare the situation of peru during sendero to the united states, in terms of both government action and citizen response. americans aren’t waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of cochebombas (car bombs), or trying to carry on a normal life with electricity rationing. they’re not watching as community organizers are gunned down in front of their children, their bodies then blown up with dynamite. rural americans aren’t squeezed between government paramilitary troops and terrorists. and american university students aren’t being shaken down for money by masked terrorists in their own schoolrooms. and with the possible exception of gitmo, american prisons aren’t breeding grounds for new terrorists.

  • readytoblowagasket

    “Oh, but Limbaugh does have a disease.”
    Yes. But more important, Rush Limbaugh *IS* the disease.

  • http://monoceros.furmont.net/ Ernest Tomlinson

    He is not a legitimate authority, expert, or spokesman on *any* topic, he’s not an intellect or a person of *any* importance.
    Indeed. The resulting irony has struck me: whenever any actor or other entertainer speaks out on a subject–George Clooney, say, to cite a recent example–the Republican cry goes up: Clooney (or whoever) is just a celebrity, a mindless and overpaid Hollywood idiot, and not qualified to have an opinion on anything. But Limbaugh is just another celebrity, isn’t he? As you say, he has no professional or academic credence whatever. He’s just a guy who made it big on radio and now (for reasons passing understanding) still draws a whacking great salary for doing his thing. Yet he is taken seriously while another man (who is manifestly saner, not to mention better-looking) is supposed to be dismissed as a spoiled and pampered child.
    You can say the same for all of them, not merely Limbaugh: Coulter, Hannity, Michael (God help up) Savage Weiner. They’re not experts on anything. Really they’re not much different from any other celebrity who’s built up a following with his or her particular “shtick”. So why are they taken seriously? Is it only because they make more noise?

  • limapup

    Antonia – you fail to see the point. The government tactics used are pretty much the same. And, if oyu would like some more juxtapositions, the white ruling class in Peru = Americans. Terror is psychological – cochebombas or planes flown into buildings do the same damage to the mind. And the governments take advantage of “fear” to control the masses – just like the Nazis did.

  • limapup

    Antonia, it’s like this: Peru = World. White ruling class = Americans (and Brits?). The ruling class of Peru did not react to Sendero and the atrocities being committed in the Andes by both Sendero and the Peruvian military until the “war” was brought to their doorsteps (WTC 9-11). Once “fear” took root in Lima, citizens gave up all rights to their own independence and gave them to the government who continued use of fear to advance their own agenda of corruption a media buy out in order to have even more control. A neo-fascist state.
    You need to go beyond the black and white to see how it ties in – do not fool yourself into believing that the US has not studied and followed tactics of Fujimori and Montesinos (the real beast) in order to apply them in the USA. Beware.

  • GeorgeF

    We had it all: A party promising jobs – produced by the mailitary-industrial complex, security – by reducing democratic rights, a righteous place in the world – by showing off military power. The trick worked, but only for 12 years…

  • jt from BC

    antonia,
    The US version is insidious, subtle, devious, self censoring and corporate driven hence more dangerous. It was known and accepted by virtually everyone in the USSR that the press lied.
    With our “open free press” we still have a majority of informed citizens believing Saddam and Al Qaeda were related, from the witch hunting days to MSM cheering Shock and Awe, wire tapping, secret prisons and The Patriot Act, implications for individual rights and freedoms are staggering.
    Back to Peru, you might wish to do some further research on USA complicity by perusing released FOIA documents acquired from Classified Government Sources.
    *Vladimiro Montesinos – The Declassified Record*
    and the CIA documents on covert relations with President Fujimori’s disgraced intelligence chieftain, these barely scratch the surface as the GWB Regime cuts back on FOIA requests by over 50 % and as it frantically continues to classify Clinton documents and their own daily memos.
    If you’ve ever wondered about JFK try this for a wake up call as you kiss “The Myth of Camelot” goodbye.
    http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/views06/1019-21.htm

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