A Hollywood celebrity-backed television ad campaign that claims SUV owners are aiding terrorists riled one WorldNetDaily reader so, he created his own media campaign to counter the claim.
Pennington, N.J., resident and longtime WND fan Percy Keith said he found the ad “so astoundingly dishonest” and “egregiously stupid” he had to respond.
As WorldNetDaily reported Friday, syndicated
columnist Arianna Huffington launched the “Detroit Project,” which asks American consumers “to connect the dots and think about the effect that their gas-guzzling SUVs are having on our foreign policy.”
Hoping to set the example, Huffington says she has turned in her 13-mile-per-gallon Lincoln Navigator
SUV for a hybrid gas and electric Toyota Prius that gets 52 miles per gallon.
But she still makes her home in a 9,000-square-foot estate in the elite Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and admitted to radio talk-show host Sean Hannity that she travels in private jets.
Movie producer Lawrence Bender, co-founded the campaign, and entertainment producers Norman Lear, Steve Bing and Larry David – who also have been criticized for conspicuous consumption of oil – joined the crusade.
The “Detroit Project” is an outgrowth of a column Huffington wrote urging Americans to get rid of their SUVs as an act of patriotism. The column reportedly sparked thousands of letters of support and checks.
In the Oct. 22, 2002, column Huffington referred to “the Bush team’s ridiculous and wildly inflammatory anti-drug ads” that suggest profits from illegal sales go to terrorists and wondered “if we might turn the tables on him by starting a little ad campaign of our own to sabotage another misguided Bush campaign: the War on Conservation.”
The television ads mimic the government’s “illegal drugs fund terrorism” ads by asserting that terrorists end up with some of the extra money needed to supply gas for fuel-hungry SUVs.
One ad begins with a girl’s voice referring to a man at a gas station: “This is George. This is the gas that George bought for his SUV.”
A map of the Middle East then appears, followed by: “These are the countries where the executives bought the oil that made the gas that George bought for his SUV.” The scene then moves to terrorists in a desert: “And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV.”
Another ad includes a series of statements from ordinary Americans: “I helped hijack an airplane”; “I gave money to a terrorist training camp in a foreign country”; “What if I need to go off-road?” It concludes with: “What is your SUV doing to our national security?”
Not having the millions necessary to purchase television advertising, Keith created his own “ad” in a Microsoft PowerPoint slide show “using the warped-logic balloon floated by Ms. Huffington.” (Click here to view the slide show. Click on each slide consecutively.)
“On one level, you don’t want to dignify [Huffington's ad] by talking about it. But after thinking about it I got really torqued up. If we’re really all about fighting terrorism, why not talk about the real issue?” Keith said.
The 43-year-old computer programmer told WorldNetDaily it took him 10 hours to create the slide show, which he e-mailed to WND and a few friends hoping it would generate similar outrage.
Keith’s two-and-a-half-minute ad begins with introductions of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.
The ad then shows a picture of the vast and barren coastal plain of the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR.
“This is where the United States has huge oil reserves to help Tom and Dick’s country, the United States, reduce our dependency on foreign oil sources,” reads the ad. Keith then illustrates the size of ANWR as being roughly the size of Ohio, with the portion targeted for drilling by the Bush administration demonstrated as less than a third of the total area.
“This is the bill that would allow the United States to drill for our own oil to reduce the dependency on foreign imports,” continues the slide show, referencing the Securing America’s Future Energy Act, or SAFE Act, of 2001. “An act that Tom and Dick voted down,” said the ad.
Keith’s presentation then shows the photographs from the FBI website of the 13 terrorists wanted for the Aug. 7, 1998, attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 19 hijackers whose actions claimed nearly 3,000 lives on Sept. 11.
“This is what the terrorists did to the World Trade Center with the money they got from the oil sheiks who got the vote they needed to keep us dependent on their oil from Tom and Dick,” Keith’s ad continues.
“If people who drive SUV vehicles can be accused of supporting terrorist activities because of the cars they drive, what are we to think of Tom and Dick?” the presentation concludes.
“Is Tom Daschle supporting terrorism? Of course not. Neither is Dick Gephardt. Neither are SUV owners,” Keith told WorldNetDaily. “If people want us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, why not talk about ANWR? Why talk about SUVs?”
Keith, who does not own an SUV, said the “real kick in the pants” for him was that most SUV owners he knows are registered Democrats.
Asked what he would want to communicate to Huffington, Keith responded: “The world flows on oil. Our country flows on oil, down to the nylon hose you wear. If you want to reduce the money that goes into the pockets of the oil sheiks, look to our own resources and toward developing those instead of attacking Americans participating in a free-market economy.”
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