As Critics Mount NARAL Claims False Ad is Accurate

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NARAL Pro-Choice America spent $500,000 on a television ad that even supporters say misrepresents the position of Supreme Court Nominee Judge John Roberts. After a few days, NARAL buckled under the pressure and pulled the ad from the airwaves but not before CNN chose to broadcast it.

Now, NARAL’s communications director, David E. Seldin, has resigned. Similar to NARAL’s defensive position about the ad, Seldin reportedly avoided mentioning the false ad as a reason for stepping down.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, remains unapologicetic and seems to place the blame on those she says has "misconstrued" the ad. "We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," she stated.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and abortion advocate Arlen Specter called NARAL's 30-second ad "blatantly untrue and unfair" for suggesting that Judge Roberts supported "violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber" in a case nearly 15 years ago.

However, the abortion rights group continues to defend its ad and is conducting an aggressive damage control effort by sending a rebuttal to the press and supporters. FactCheck.org, which concluded the NARAL ad is "false", writes,

NARAL has been circulating a rebuttal widely to reporters and by email to many of our readers even before they sent it to us, and we received a number of requests for our response.
Keenan asserts in the letter that
every factual statement made in NARAL Pro=Choice America’s ad is completely accurate and supported by objective documents. The ad is not "false."
FactCheck.org responded,
After considering NARAL's arguments, we stand by our judgment that their ad is false. The message contained in the juxtaposition of words and powerful images is that Roberts condoned the mayhem being shown on screen, which even Ms. Keenan has stated is untrue. We are not retracting our article. Instead, it is NARAL that is withdrawing its ad.

Emily Lyons, the person who appeared in the ad, also defended her actions, stating to the Associated Press Friday that the ad is "confusing, but not false." [HT: Michelle Malkin]

"We knew what we were getting in to," Lyons said about making the commercial. "We just didn't know it would hit a nerve like it did."

FactCheck notes that Nancy Keenan herself said during the Aug. 8 news conference announcing the ad: "I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting that Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence. I know he said he finds bombing and murder abhorrent." Yet her ad conveys the opposite, showing pictures of a bombed clinic and a bombing victim while saying that Roberts supported a clinic bomber and violent fringe groups and that he excuses violence.

However, Lyons told AP she sees nothing wrong with connecting Roberts to those who condone violence.

The admission by Lyons that NARAL "knew" what they "were getting in to" by connecting Roberts to those who condone violence is a striking contrast to Keenan's assertion that the group is not "suggesting that Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence."

Operation Rescue responded in a press release that the group is considering legal action,

The NARAL ad had wrongly led viewers to believe that Roberts had defended the bombing of abortion clinics when he represented Operation Rescue and others in Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, when in fact that case had nothing to do with clinic violence or bombings.

And, the editorial boards of many national newspapers are now condemning NARAL's actions. The Boston Herald writes that although it is "a virtual certainty" that Roberts will be confirmed, "[h]aving sacrificed what remains of its credibility, NARAL [Pro-Choice America]'s future is much less certain."

A New York Times op-ed columnist writes, "I was once pro-choice and a contributor to Naral. Now I'm pro-choice but anti-Naral." Even the liberal Milwaukee Journal came out against the group. [HT: Michelle Malkin]

Related Entries:

HT: JivinJ




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