T Nation

Anti Roberts Advertisement Pulled


How many people have been following the story regarding the nasty advertisement created by one very left leaning group: "NARAL Pro-Choice America".

The advertisement has been pulled but was there more damage done to the left with these sorts of tactics?

Abortion Rights Group Withdraws Anti-Roberts Ad

WASHINGTON (Aug. 11) - After a week of protests by conservatives, an abortion rights group said it is withdrawing a television advertisement linking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to violent anti-abortion activists.

"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who had urged the group to withdraw the ad.

Specter, himself an abortion-rights supporter as well as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will question Roberts next month, earlier Thursday had called the ad "blatantly untrue and unfair."

The NARAL ad criticizes Roberts and links him with violent anti-abortion protesters because of the anti-abortion briefs he worked on as a government lawyer.

"The NARAL advertisement is not helpful to the pro-choice cause which I support," Specter said in a letter to Keenan.

Keenan's response said the group will replace the ad with one that "examines Mr. Roberts' record on several points, including his advocacy for overturning Roe v. Wade, his statement questioning the right to privacy and his arguments against using a federal civil rights law to protect women and their doctors and nurses from those who use blockades and intimidation."

The original ad has been airing on broadcast television in Maine and Rhode Island and on CNN.

At least one television station had already refused to run the ad. Mike Young, vice president and general manager of WABI in Bangor, said his station ran the ad before deciding to pull it Thursday after receiving a challenge from the Republican National Committee.

"After careful thoughtful analysis, we determined the ad was at worst false, and at best misleading," he said.

Conservatives and Roberts supporters have been calling all week for NARAL to pull the ad.

NARAL had planned a $500,000 (euro403,000) campaign to show the ad for two weeks.

"This ad grossly distorts the record of John Roberts from start to finish," said former Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican. "It has only one goal: to associate John Roberts with violent extremists."

Senate Democrats have not taken a position on the ad. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, told The Associated Press that ads for and against Roberts won't sway senators weighing the confirmation.

In 1991, Roberts helped write - on behalf of the government - a Supreme Court brief in Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic. In that case, the court limited the federal help available to abortion clinic owners who seek to stop blockades by protesters.

Meanwhile, in documents released Thursday, Roberts - then special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith - advised then-high court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor in 1981 to stand firm in her insistence not to discuss specific court cases, saying it could bring up impropriety and possibly disqualification issues later.

A university professor's memo argued that senators can only determine a nominee's views through asking specific questions about specific cases. In the memo, the professor wrote that answering those questions would not put a justice in danger of having to be disqualified from hearing future cases on that subject if it was made clear the nominee was not promising to vote one way or the other.

That theory should be rejected, Roberts said.

Roberts has been nominated by President George W. Bush to replace O'Connor on the Supreme Court this fall.


Yeah -- I believe the NARAL ad director even stepped down over. When even the WaPo is taking them to task, you know they've been pretty egregious in their mischaracterizations.

Lots of political ads get away with being vague and misleading without being absolutely wrong, but this one was way over the line of demonstrably false.


Blatant attack ads, whether from groups like this or from the likes of swift boat vets for Bush, are a problem within the process...

Politics is being reduced to the tactics of distract, deflect and discredit. It really sucks. I wish the public would stop falling for it.


I agree vroom, but I don't think there is much that we can do about it in a free society. Although if you look at what happened over this TV spot, maybe there is hope.


The cure for bad information is more information.

When this is over I think more people (even pro-abortion people) will understand how underhanded NARAL is.

I hate this shit when it comes from the left or right.


I feel the same way about needing to get more, correct information out there, but do you think lazyness, or even a lack of education makes it difficult to get people to see truth next to lies?

It's easy to watch the news, or see an ad and believe it, but it takes effort to actually do some research on the topic from different points of view.

We're almost brainwashed from the start to try and find easier, faster ways of doing things.



A lie repeated enough times will be accepted as the truth!


I guess that's how advertising works so well. Even if someone's not interested in the product at first, if they're exposed to the comercial enough times, they're more likely to buy.


Size doesn't matter, size doesn't matter, say it with me folks...


Narla is a pretty extreme organization. No amount of convincing will ever suit them. They may publicly be contrite about pulling this ad but I am sure they were quite proud of it back at their headquarters.

Coulter had a great line about them. She said "Narla wouldn't endorse a candidate unless they acutally performed an abortion during the hearing, preferably late term". I don't think she was that far off the mark.

I think it's presumptuous of them to think their endorsement matters all that much any more. Who is actually "pro-abortion". It hasn't been about choice for at Narla for many years.


The problem is most people are stupid lazy cows that have nonexistent cognitive thinking skills that absorb all the crap spewed on tv as fact. We have this wonderful gift called a brain but sadly most people use very little of it.



Just like the association of Beer to athletics. Beer is no better for an athlete than Soy products (see T-Nation aricles on Beer lowering T levels). But you would never know it as the Beer commericals always surround themselves with various sports. Advertising increases sales it's a fact.

Just think if pot became legal you might see Mike Tyson doing a commercial:

(Imagine tiny Tyson voice as he sits on a corner stool taking a break from training)

"I used to be all up tight about....well everything. Now I'm relaxed...no more ear biting for me. Now that I smoke joint Styx."

(off camara voice): "Joint Styx cool menthol or hearty flavor. The joint that cooled Tysons jets....."

Okay...I'm off topic here...sorry just came from the pot thread. :slight_smile:

The point is, advertising works and it matters not the product!