Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 14, 2010

TV Ad Depicts Cartoon Nancy Pelosi Being Tortured

Scenes from Right Change's
"The Attack of the 50-Foot Pelosi" TV Ad:

Have we become so inured to all the violent imagery and talk being directed towards Democrats that we can accept seeing a cartoon depiction of the Speaker of the House being hit multiple times with laser-like beams and writhing in pain in a TV ad and simply shrug it off?

The commercial is by a group called Right Change (Pittsburgh City Paper's Chris Potter has background on them here) and it's part of an $83,000 ad buy in the Pittsburgh and Johnstown media markets.

Titled "The Attack of the 50-Foot Pelosi," it's pro Republican Tim Burns in the special election race for the late US Rep. John Murtha's seat. According to Right Change, "The ad uses new technology for political ads with humor and cutting-edge animation."

I'm so glad that "new technology" was used to depict torturing (possibly to death) an elected official. I'm guessing that "humor" is to be found because it's an animated piece that has a (straw man) monster.

Of course there's nothing really new in describing a strong woman as a "monster." It's actually pretty old hat even by South Park standards (Barbra Streisand was made into a mechanical Godzilla-like monster on the show over a decade ago).

I'm guessing that it was deemed perfectly acceptable to depict Nancy Pelosi WRITHING AND SCREAMING IN PAIN because she is a "monster" from San Francisco.

Ha ha!

But I don't accept that.

What's next?

A cartoon Pelosi being shot with cartoon bullets spilling cartoon blood?

Would that be alright?

Is it somehow more acceptable to try to kill the Speaker of the House with magical Tim Burns buttons than with guns?

Can you imagine the uproar that would be had over an ad that had similarly depicted Sarah Palin (or even George Bush or Dick Cheney)?

Now here's where I fully admit that I have not personally seen this ad on the air and that I only heard about it because my sister, Gina, saw it aired multiple times on KDKA TV and she was floored by it and kept telling me to check it out.

I called KDKA today hoping to ask someone there what standards they had for the ads they run. (Obviously they have some standards. They wouldn't run ads that, say, contain nudity or profanity. )

Someone at the station had to view the ad and approve it. (I once knew a woman who worked for NBC whose sole job was to make sure that their ads didn't conflict with their network programming content -- no diet product ads after a story on famine, for example.)

I was eventually directed to a woman who I assume is in their advertising department who said that I could not quote her and who hung up on me. Nice! (Yes, I gave my full name and identified myself as a blogger.) She seemed to think that my beef should be solely with the ad agency and the account and not the station.

Well, I've been blogging for nearly six years now and in all that time and in all my Photoshops I have managed to somehow never depict an elected official -- or anyone else for that matter -- being lasered and screaming in pain, and yet a television station has no problems broadcasting this on the public airwaves.

If you have a problem with this -- if you haven't been numbed to the outrageousness of it -- maybe you might want to consider calling KDKA and telling them that it is not acceptable to torture any politician -- even a cartoon one -- in a television commercial.

Their switchboard number is: 412-575-2200 (It rings for a very long time).

UPDATED: Heard it (was out of the room) on WTAE TV (local ABC affiliate) this morning: Main desk at 412-242-4300, Email here

Caught part of it on WPXI TV (local NBC affiliate) last night: Phone: 412-237-1100
Finally, here's the full ad in all its gory:

UPDATE: I just saw it on air on KDKA (5/14/10, 4:44 PM).

UPDATE 2: Heard it (was out of the room) on WTAE TV (local ABC affiliate) this morning: Main desk at 412-242-4300, Email here

Caught part of it on WPXI TV (local NBC affiliate) last night: Phone: 412-237-1100

Saw it three times on KDKA TV on yesterday's afternoon news.

"Oh My Aching Sides" (by Melissa McEwan)
A Spork in the Drawer "Not-So-Random Question" (by Spork Incident)
Crooks and Liars "Mike's Blog Roundup" (by Bluegal)
Politics Daily "Pelosi Takes the Heat: 'If I Were Not Effective They Wouldn't Care About Me'" (by Melinda Henneberger)


MJ said...

It looked like a 5-year-old put together that ad. Of course, most repugs act live 5-year-olds (kicking and screaming) when they don't get their way.

Maria said...

I actually just saw it on air on KDKA, like, a minute ago.

Maria Lupinacci said...

Good Lord! They just aired it again!

spork_incident said...

Sooner or later they're going to move from depicting torture and murder to actually doing it.

And I don't mean the Roeder- & Poplawski-types but something more organized.

A Spork in the Drawer

spork_incident said...

They just aired it again!

UCC ad saying gays and lesbians aren't so bad? BANNED.

(Fictional) depiction of the torture of an elected official? A-OK!


Maria Lupinacci said...


I still somehow can't believe they can get away with this shit.

I know I should know better by now.

I really fear for our country.

MJ said...

I really don't think it's that violent. Just amazingly stupid. Could be the worst political commercial I have ever viewed, in fact.

Clyde Wynant said...

OK. TV stations will run almost anything if you wave money in front of them. Ditto radio and newspapers. They are desperate. The days of "standards" are ancient history.

And while this seems unacceptable, it probably surprises no one. Our entire society is full of violent and disturbing imagery and talk. Every local talk show host on KD radio imbues their invective with a nasty tone, even if they're talking about puppies and butterflies. At every level, the media does anything it can to build audience and then sell that to the highest bidder. Like I said, there are no standards. Have you every watched "Maury?"

I have friends whose boy is maybe 11 years old. He has his eyeballs permanently attached to first-person violent gaming via his Game Boy. (boy, isn't that a misnomer!) He spends HOURS on a simulated killing spree nearly every day.

We have become a nation where thuggery is all too common -- so I am not surprised that Nancy Pelosi is being roasted on-screen.

What's perhaps most disturbing, however, is how the GOP brings out a new set of straw dogs and whips them during every election cycle. Until he died, Teddy Kennedy was there fav. Now they have to beat on Pelosi.
It's pathetic. But, for their constituency? It works.

rich10e said...

once again the selective memory is at work here on this blog...what about the 2006 movie "Death of a President"which depicted George Bush's assassination...or the number of times Bush was hung in effigy...

Spork you got it all wrong its not the GOP, Tea party members or even moderate Dems you should worry about,it should be gov't union members striking like they have in Greeece that resulted in the deaths of three innocent bank workers.Of course not a word from the left on those murders...just collateral damage in the Revolution!!

Joshua said...

Oh Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ, Rich! "Death of a President", to my knowledge, has never been broadcast, no less on network television. Furthermore, that's a hypothetical "what might happen" scenario. You never heard of a whole genre of books called "alternate history"?

And as for leftist-spawned violence, I only have one word for you: Hutaree. We are damn lucky they were caught in their incipient stages. Furthermore, I have NEVER seen any ads from left-leaning groups on TV that physically (and I mean "physically" in the most literal sense of the word) attack another person. Far Left (like the LaRouchies)? That's another story, but I'm not talking about them.

So, to put it mildly, GET A F***IN' CLUE!!!!

spork_incident said...

rich10e -

Perhaps you should watch the movie before condemning it. We could argue about the propriety of the subject but the movie in no way advocated the assassination of GWB and that act is, in fact, incidental to the plot. Condemn it if you wish but at least know what you're talking about. (And it's not an American movie to begin with.)

Oh, and the thought of unionized American government workers rising up and committing mayhem and murder isn't keeping me up at night, to say the least.

And this will make you happy: I condemn murder in all cases, including any Greek bank workers or American citizens targeted by the President.

Finally, you build lovely strawmen. Are you a professional or just a dedicated amateur?

A Spork in the Drawer

rich10e said...

Josh..get a real life... of course it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival...Spork...when you depict the murder of a sitting president,How can it be anything but advocacy???

If you don't think that Europe is a precursor for the social problems the US will be facing then you're in denial.

Maria said...

So a foreign film is the same as an ad broadcast in the US on the public airwaves?


Unknown said...

Followed a link. You should see the other crap that they're doing.

C.H. said...

Yep...violence is all "directed at Democrats".

Never mind the movie that was made about a wishful assassination of President Bush...or the hopes in the left-wing blogosphere that Dick Cheney would die of a heart attack. Then there was the left's excitement when Rush Limbaugh had to go to the hospital...

EdHeath said...

The Bush administration and the Republican Congress did not re-authorize the assault weapon ban. Republicans in the Senate are blocking legislation to prevent people on the suspected terrorist list from buying guns. The State legislature in Georgia wants to allow people to carry guns in airports in all parts except the gates, and in bars, and in schools. These actions could have complications that could result in the death of many innocent people (most presumably unrelated to politicians).

To be sure, there have been and are angry liberals. Apparently angry English liberals made that movie, and I remember seeing a conservative documentary that found I believe ten or so liberals who wished harm to Bush and Cheney (and probably Limbaugh and O'Reilly). Meanwhile, on Bush's watch, we invaded two countries (one that had nothing to do with 9/11), where over 5400 Americans have died, not to mention many Iraq and Afghan insurgents and civilians.

But I understand, conservatives don't want to talk about real consequences or real problems. They only want to create false equivalences.

Social Justice NPC Anti-Paladin™ said...

Joshua Strange that the Hutaree case is not getting more media coverage.
That is because the Feds overreached.
The ‘Hutaree Militia’ Case Starts To Unravel — On First Amendment Grounds
The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators. But, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hatefilled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection
Of course Ed has the solution.
People who are on the Terrorist watch list do not have any Constitutional rights as shown by his zeal to remove 2nd amendment protections.

Maria said...

Again, two words:


EdHeath said...

Well, HTTT, I don't know anything about the Hutaree case, so I won't say anything more about it than that the AP makes a better source than Breitbart. As for the no fly list, I will say (*again*) that since people on the no fly list can appeal that status, in fact it is in their own interest to appeal, your argument is still specious.

I notice you don't comment about the rest of my statements. Proof once again that conservatives don't care about actual people, just about scaring voters so that can get into power and get back to taking our rights. But go ahead and distort, it neatly proves what liberals say about conservatives.

MD said...

What is the matter with you people? Speaker Pelosi represents an administration that is out of control and Tim Burns represents the American voter trying to stop an out of control monster feeding upon itself and our American way of life. I think the Ad is BRILLIANT! and judging from the Left's outrage ... the ad is also highly effective! Congratulations!

Maria said...


What's the matter with you people? They should have run an ad with a cartoon Sarah Palin writhing and screaming with pain as she was lasered with cartoon Obama buttons. It would be sponsored by an environmental group and represent the American voter trying to stop an out of control monster feeding upon itself and our destroying the environment. And the ad would have been "BRILLIANT!" There's no way any conservative would have had any problem with it and if they had, they would have just proved how effective the ad was.

Yeah, right.

Next up: Cartoon lynching of President Obama!

Beth said...

Seriously, anybody who is upset about the thought of Nancy Pelosi being tortured thoroughly and often is part of the problem that is America. I WOULD say she's the antichrist, but that position is being played by Obeyme. Actually, between Obeyme, Pisslosi, and Reid, they make up a pretty good evil trinity.

Joy said...

So the right supports the rule of law, and the constitutional right of all people, except for people they don't like, people they feel are bad for america, or people they believe to be the antichrist.

So, where do you get one of those handy-dandy antichrist exemptions?