February 27, 2020

Obama steps into the fray? "Obama demands South Carolina TV stations pull misleading ad attacking Biden."

Here's the ad:



Do you see the problem?

The WaPo headline is "Obama demands South Carolina TV stations pull misleading ad attacking Biden." Here's the first paragraph:
Former president Barack Obama on Wednesday called on South Carolina television stations to stop running an ad from a super PAC supporting President Trump that uses Obama’s words out of context in a misleading attack on former vice president Joe Biden.
Ironically, the headline and that paragraph confused me more than the ad did. From the ad, what I'm seeing is the assertion — spoken by Obama — that Democrats cultivate the black vote with promises but don't really help black people. That's presented as a reason not to vote for Joe Biden, and there's no alternative offered. It's telling black people to be cynical about political promises.

From the headline, I thought Obama himself had spoken and told the TV stations to pull the ad. But, reading on, I see that there was just a statement issued by Obama’s communications director, Katie Hill, complaining that the ad takes "President Obama’s voice out of context" — it's from the audiobook "Dreams From My Father" — and "calling on TV stations to take this ad down and stop playing into the hands of bad actors who seek to sow division and confusion among the electorate."

The ad is definitely confusing: "Joe Biden promised to help our community. It was a lie. Here’s President Obama." Then there's the passage from Obama's book about broken promises to black people, but the passage is not about Biden. Obama was writing about the Democratic Party politicians he'd encountered in Chicago in his community organizing days.

So many ads have out of context quotations. I think the station should have a standard policy about censoring montages, not special treatment when the complaint is sourced to Obama.

Complaining about the ad gives it more prominence, but what's out of context is given a new context — the context of: Look at this lie!

If you look at it carefully, you see that a pro-Trump super PAC is trying to make black people cynical and confused, but you will also see that Obama himself was cynical and confused about politics when, as a young man, he first saw it close up. By making the ad specific to Biden, the super PAC missed the better argument and made itself look dishonest. If their goal is to make people cynical and alienated from politics, maybe they don't care if they look dishonest too. They've achieved their goal if they make black people think politics is all lies.

70 comments:

Amexpat said...

By making the ad specific to Biden, the super PAC missed the better argument and made itself look dishonest.

I agree. In political arguments, a good point is often undermined by pushing a it too far.

tim in vermont said...

Politics is all lies.

Phil 314 said...

Why all the effort to sabotage Biden’s campaign. It’s a dead man walking campaign. Let it die of its own accord.

Shouting Thomas said...

they've achieved their goal if they make black people think politics is all lies.

Seems an admirable goal to me.

The last Republican mayor of Chicago left office in 1931.

Democrats have done a hell of a job for blacks in Chicago.

h said...

"We sold our vote for a Christmas turkey." I'd play that over and over in ads targeting black voters.

wendybar said...

"they've achieved their goal if they make black people think politics is all lies."

Obama's whole Presidency was all lies. WHAT did he ever do for blacks, except for his friends family and celebrities that he hung with??? He divided the rest of us.

Darrell said...

Obama should confess to ordering the false-premise attack on Trump using the full resources of the US government.

Then report to the gallows.

rhhardin said...

I suppose all feelings eventually means no logical content. If the voters don't want logical content, confused isn't the right word for it. Maybe womanish. All-sideways reasoning.

rhhardin said...

Ad taken down because it's all feelings, doesn't sound right.

Amadeus 48 said...

Well, I never! Who ever heard of such a thing?

I thought the end of net neutrality killed me.

The last thing I remember before that was the bright flash when Barry Goldwater was president.

David Begley said...

Considering that Obama ordered the FBI and CIA to spy on candidate Trump, I’m surprised Trump’s ad isn’t tougher.

There is no doubt about my assertion. No way Comey and Brennan would have broken the law unless Obama told them to do it.

tim in vermont said...

Brennan admitted once that they had orders from the boss.

Ralph L said...

Their fake BO has a Southern accent, but both speak too quickly, so it sounds weird.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Blacks get turkeys for their vote? That's a lot more then I ever got. So tell me again who is naive.

Leland said...

I think they are going for the Streisand effect. The real question is whether the PAC is Russian backed?

Lucid-Ideas said...

In his next book, Broken Promises of My Father, Obama will reveal how his entire administration was a giant con-job, that he made race relations in the USA worse than they've ever been, and that his dad didn't stick around is about the most authentic black thing about him.

The NYT inidcated it's a tour de force, and his most authentic work ever.

Heartless Aztec said...

I've tuned it all out. If - by some happenstance - I'm watching NBCMSNBCFOXCBSABCCNN I keep the controller at hand for moments notice to mute. And I'm quick on tbe draw. Half the time I miss the mute and hit the off button. Ever so much more blissful.

rehajm said...

Why all the effort to sabotage Biden’s campaign. It’s a dead man walking campaign. Let it die of its own accord.

Biden will likely pull off a win in SC...

...There's a group here in SC that's partly opposed to open primaries but is encouraging voting for Republicans to vote for Sanders in order to create chaos as they say. It would seem to me if you wanted chaos you'd vote for Biden to keep him in the race to improve the chances of a contested summer. Perhaps the are convinced DNC leaders will have to do something about Sanders but the risk is making Sanders look inevitable with big primary wins.

Leland said...

if you wanted chaos you'd vote for Biden to keep him in the race to improve the chances of a contested summer.

I agree. Further, Biden doesn't seem capable of GOTV like Trump or Sanders.

rehajm said...

By making the ad specific to Biden, the super PAC missed the better argument and made itself look dishonest.

The intent is to get people to vote against Biden. If you make them all look bad the ad is encouraging everyone to stay home...

Beasts of England said...

Was there a point to that ad?

Laslo Spatula said...

" It would seem to me if you wanted chaos you'd vote for Biden to keep him in the race to improve the chances of a contested summer."

For chaos and sweet confusion vote Klobuchar. Women versus Bernie Bros is always a good bet for trainwreck feelings.

I am Laslo.

rehajm said...

I haven't seen the ad though my SC tv stations are in Savannah. Perhaps it's because Steyer bought up all the airtime- his ads are still running constantly...

Beasts of England said...

’...if you wanted chaos you'd vote for Biden to keep him in the race...’

That’s my current plan, because I do want chaos. Bigly. :)

rehajm said...

For chaos and sweet confusion vote Klobuchar.

She'll probably win Minnesota. Amy has momentum! That definitely is chaos...

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Laslo

Amen brother. I want what happened on Tuesday night to happen at the convention. The yelling is upgraded to screaming. Fisticuffs among different supporters in the convention. Burniebros setting fires in dumpsters outside. Amy throwing hair brushes. Dogs and cats, mass hysteria. National guard? A man can dream.

I want Americans as shit scared of democrats as they are of Freddy Kruger, with a side of their church lady mother-in-laws.

Howard said...

I'm glad someone is Lucid enough to realize that fear inspired decision making is the only way to get good people to vote for Trump.

What surprises me about this whole thing is that the Trump people are showing their hand that they actually fear Unka Joe more than Bernie Colonel Sanders.

Big Mike said...

They've achieved their goal if they make black people think politics is all lies.

It isn’t? Obama himself lied routinely and Hillary Clinton lies practically as an automatic reflex. Surprised you hadn’t noticed.

Howard said...

One thing I think is very important to remember in all of the Trump organization strategies is that he has far and above the best internal polling. that's why he keeps kellyanne Conway around even though her f****** husband is running around like a banshee with his hair on fire

I'm Full of Soup said...

I'm conmfused.

Obama claims politicians have lied to black people for years and Biden has been a politician all his life but Obama could not possibly have been including lifelong politicians like Biden?

Ray said...

"Was there a point to that ad?"

To decouple Blacks in SC from Biden, thus decoupling them from the Party, since no other candidate has any connectiveness to them (Blacks). And, if it works here, then maybe elsewhere. At least my guess.

Hagar said...

The last Republican mayor of Chicago left office in 1931.

That was Big Bill Thompson, who was more of a mob mayor than a Republican.
(Also the one who threatened to punch the the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, on the nose if he ever showed up in Chicago.)
His predecessor was a one-term Democrat who did try to clean up prohibition Chicago a little, and the voters did not like it.
His predecessor again, 1919-23, was that same Big Bill Thompson.

Gusty Winds said...

What is "misleading" about the ad. Is too much truth now considered misleading?

Laslo Spatula said...

Howard: I fear Klobuchar.

Women want someone they can rally behind that isn't as Hillaryesque as Warren.

Klobuchar soothes their vaginas.

And we are a nation that decides upon it's leader by weighing heavily on soothed vaginas.

If she can get a rung or two up the ladder of plausibility she will easily become the Bernie alternative.

I am Laslo.

Big Mike said...

Why all the effort to sabotage Biden’s campaign. It’s a dead man walking campaign. Let it die of its own accord.

@Phil, I wonder that myself. Biden is surely the easiest candidate for Trump to beat in the General. Run ads with YouTube videos of Slow Joe getting handsy with adolescent girls. Run ads showing his gaffes. Tie him to Ukrainian corruption.

Laslo Spatula said...

(its not it's)

rehajm said...

To decouple Blacks in SC from Biden, thus decoupling them from the Party, since no other candidate has any connectiveness to them (Blacks).

That makes a lot of sense, especially since there is one other candidate making new connections with black voters- Trump!

Gusty Winds said...

The effort to shave off a percentage of African-American votes from their Democrat loyalty in only going to get uglier. The ad wasn't just about Biden. It was about the wider issue that Democrats only care about African-Americans at election time.

It's true. And this will be the first of many efforts to get that message out, no matter how ugly.

Laslo Spatula said...

I believe Althouse would vote Klobuchar over Trump in a heartbeat. Because of her intellect.

But a lot of educated women just like her would certainly vote Klobuchar to soothe their vaginas.

Bernie is an incipient yeast infection.

I am Laslo.

Sally327 said...

Obama doesn't care that Biden is being maligned, he just doesn't want it to be his words that are used to do it. He needs to protect the brand, which I get that but still, it's interesting that there is no defense of Biden here. So we're left with the idea that the ad is misleading but not because what is expressed is untrue about Biden, it's because what is expressed was said by Obama about some other corrupt, deceitful politicians.

rehajm said...

The Bernie play makes much more sense for the general if you consider his foot in mouth Cuba comments put his chances in FL to be about nil...

Howard said...

Good theory Ray.

Fernandistein said...

Do you see the problem?

Someone was over-paying for souls.

Francisco D said...

What surprises me about this whole thing is that the Trump people are showing their hand that they actually fear Unka Joe more than Bernie Colonel Sanders

Howard,

What surprises me is that you cannot see that Joe Biden is cognitively impaired and would be the least feared opponent by the Trump people. The more we see of Joe, the worse it gets. Can you imagine him in a POTUS contest?

Howard said...

Francisco you are completely misconstruing the logic behind my comment. Why is Trump attacking Biden when everyone thinks Bernie is the biggest threat? also I don't recall ever being terribly pro Biden. You can check the record but I'm pretty sure I have made fun of his diminished capacity as well. But I understand when you're weak and fearful you have to create straw men to prop yourself up. You really need to boost fiber. You sound as though you are severely blocked

PJ said...

The misleading part was to make a statement about Biden, then to simply say “Here’s President Obama.” That wasn’t false, but it created an expectation that an Obama statement about Biden would follow. It was clear to me from the content of Obama’s statement that it was not specifically about Biden, but I was listening closely because Althouse had drawn attention to the issue. I can see that the ad may have been crafted to leave the impression on a casual viewer that Obama was talking specifically about Biden. If the ad had replaced “Here’s President Obama” with “Biden is part of the problem President Obama was talking about when he said this,” it would have cured the misleadingness.

Birches said...

The ad would be more effective without the narrator at the beginning. Everyone knows Obama's voice. They could even say on screen it was from Dreams From My Father.

I've noticed a lot of bad campaign ads recently.vi wonder if old people are still swayed by then and that's why they're so bad.

Narayanan said...

In my view: Obama pretty much cornered to himself "Reparations Wealth from White Guilt" with bargain basement price for negros votes.

Narayanan said...

Isn't it mis-lede-ing to claim Obama's words don't apply to HIM as politician?

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Laslo

Trump is the only true vagina-whisperer. He's soothing, because he grabs their attention and orange is a known synesthesia parallel with 'calm'.

@Howard

You're projecting again. That's the tactic they use on you with Trump. Yet again, what you think is me is actually true for thee.

Francisco D said...

Howard,

You are not making any sense. Maybe you should think more and post less.

jnseward said...

The problem with Republicans voting in the Democratic primary to cause chaos is that it's impossible to decide which candidate would be worse. The chaos is taking care of itself.

Iman said...

that's why he keeps kellyanne Conway around even though her f****** husband is running around like a banshee with his hair on fire

So that George Conway is a Democrat after all...

Marshall Rose said...

It seems to me the thrust of the ad is an attempt to decouple the nearly monolithic black vote from the democrat party. The fact that Biden is mentioned is due to his front runner status in SC. I would bet that any front runner would due as a generic dem for the purposes of the ad.

Team Obama just Streisanded it.

Some Seppo said...

Lucid-Ideas said...

In his next book, Broken Promises of My Father, Obama will reveal how his entire administration was a giant con-job, that he made race relations in the USA worse than they've ever been,


Seems like Obama's goal was the same as Charlie Manson's. Helter Skelter.

rcocean said...

I loved the Photo at end. Sinister Biden, bathed in darkness.

Known Unknown said...

Methinks the Professor needs a "Streisand Effect" tag. Maybe she has one.

rcocean said...

The purpose of the ad is simple. Attack Biden, help Bernie. THE most misleading ad, is the one where Bloomberg uses Obama's words to imply that Obama is endorsing him. Which is not the case since Bloomie didn't endorse Obama till Nov 1st 2012, and criticized him though-out his first term.

Bob Boyd said...

Is this all we've got today for the outrage du jour?

Pretty weak sauce for the hard core Trumprage junkies...like a meth-head trying to get by snorting No Doze when there's nothing on the street.

Yancey Ward said...

The ad would have been more effective, standing alone and towards its actual goal, if Biden had not been mentioned- this I agree with completely. The target isn't Biden- it is the near blind faith of African-American voters in Democrats- you didn't really need Biden for that purpose. However, I do see how the mistake was made- Biden was Obama's VP and is running for President.

Yancey Ward said...

Sure, Obama has now Streisanded the ad, but he is likely to have objected anyway since it is a pro-Trump superpac.

Ken B said...

Some idiot at PJM thought this was really devastating to Biden. Big meh. I watched it once.i could tell it was Obama reading his book. So it’s a generic nothing ad. And the controversy is a ginned up nothing too.

Althouse thought Bernie's ad with Paul Simon's America was great. Was Simon singing about Bernie? Or about a primary campaign? No. But the song wasn’t “out of context” either.

tim in vermont said...

"that's why he keeps kellyanne Conway around even though her f****** husband is running around like a banshee with his hair on fire”

George Conway is the Democrat’s version of the Gorilla Channel.

Howard said...

Thanks for the education in urban slingo, Auntie Trump. all mass communication is the gorilla channel as far as I can tell

Impudent Warwick said...

Obama’s communications director, Katie Hill

Seriously?

narciso said...

there's a story they haven't really broached on,

narciso said...

he was the head of the senate judiciary, where it would have come from, Obama probably ran against it as it was with welfare reform, so how is it a lie?

Rabel said...

Is that Obama's voice? I listened to a minute of a different selection from Dreams from My Father on Amazon and he doesn't use the slurred dialect that's present in the ad. However, his spokeswoman and the Post seem to believe that it is actually him.

Most of you probably have a personal copy of Dreams on audiobook so maybe someone could check.

Stephen said...

This posting misses the point, apparently deliberately. The ad, run by Republicans, is knowingly false in suggesting that Obama said that about Biden The falsehood is intended to defeat Biden in the Democratic primary and open the way for Sanders, the weaker candidate in any general election. The lie is central to the mission, not peripheral to it. This stuff about Obama or current African American voters being cynical and confused, then and now, is cute, but it feels like Althouse trying to avoid discussing what is really going on.

Lazarus said...

The ad is deceptive in implying that Obama was talking about Biden. To blame Trump or his campaign for the ad would also be misleading. Superpacs do things like this without the approval or authorization of the offical campaigns.