Rick Santorum has recently released the following political advertisement attacking President Obama:
The advertisement is themed like a trailer for a horror film. The imagery is dark. The early scenes show a small town turned into a creepy ghost town, and the voice over narrative implies this is a result of Obama being reelected. In spite of the fact that the economy has grown every quarter since July of 2009, American businesses have been posting record profits since 2010, the stock market has been booming
(S&P 500 has grown at an 18.3% annualized rate over three years!) and the economy added more jobs in 2010 alone than were created during the entire Bush administration, the ad continues to play upon the fears created by the Bush fiinancial meltdown and collapsed economy.
Now that the job numbers are showing gains on a month by month basis, and investment is accelerating, and even Mitt Romney finally has had to shake his Etch-a-Sketch and grudgingly admit that the economy has been improving for some time now, one would think that Santorum wouldn't try to pull this dishonest manipulation. One has to assume they are targeting a constituency of low-information voters who are easily manipulated by lies.
Then the voice over says that the wait to see a doctor is ever increasing. Since FOX news planted the seed in a gullible audience's minds that the ACA represented a government takeover of health care, and would put government officials between them and their doctors, Santorum sees no reason not to take advantage of this dishonesty by playing it up again. The fact is that Obamacare is a private insurance market based model that will not change anything in the insurance or doctor patient relationship of the vast majority of Americans. The only people who should see changes are people who do not now have insurance and are able to afford it for the first time, or people who benefit because they can no longer be denied treatment or subjected to lifetime limitations on benefits.
But at this point the video goes over the top, implying that the US faces a serious threat of nuclear attack from Iran. The film is so blatantly and unsubtly trying to whip up baseless irrational fears, that one has a hard time deciding what is more contemptible: the shameless demagogues who designed and filmed the ad, or any mindless ignorant person who might actually take it seriously and be scared by it.
And now the subliminal message comes, so quickly you might miss it. The film cuts to an image of a small television set on the carpet in a barren room. The scene reminds one of the spare room shown in photos of bin Laden watching his videos on a modest set in Abbattabad. The set shows a likeness of Ahmedinejad, then it briefly flickers to an image of President Obama exactly at the moment the narrator says "sworn enemy of the United States", then it flashes back to the original Ahmedinejad. The image is so fleeting that you can barely notice it, and it seems that it can only be intended to plant a subliminal message. This is the creepiest kind of dishonesty that one can imagine in political messaging: an attempt to influence people's minds subliminally.
Here is the image:
And here is the image of Obama that briefly flickers on the TV screen:
Politico reporter Dylan Byer's first noticed this
nasty subliminal message in the ad. He followed up by contacting Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley, who gave this non-responsive jumble of weasel words:
He's the president of the United States, Ahmadenijad is the president of our sworn enemy. I'm don't know that it was 'interspersing,' I'm confused by that. Obviously I'm not trying to say anything about Obama and Ahamdenijad. So if we're not trying to say anything about that, then I don't understand the issue.
Pure denial of any malicious intent. I suppose somehow Mr. Santorum is able to persuade himself that this isn't bearing false witness. Not in a Universe inhabited by reasonable and honest people though.