Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How Move America Forward Lost My Support

Last Saturday, I received an email from Joe Wierzbicki, who works for Move America Forward's ad agency and who wanted me to post about Fox's rejection of their recent anti-Clinton ad. While checking it out, I came across this appallingly ignorant spot they had produced about airport security. The spot defames TSA uniformed personnel, possibly to the point of libel.

I know more than a little bit about airport security. Following 9/11, being over the (arbitrary) age limit for military service, I was able to make a contribution wearing the uniform of my country in the brand new Transportation Security Administration. The salary was significantly less than what I had made in advertising, and the working conditions were not quite on a par with a 9 to 5 creative career (it would eventually cost me one of my knees as well, TSA has one of the highest injury rates in the Federal service).

But the rewards were outstanding; among them the opportunity to work side-by-side with a dedicated and professional group of people who had survived a hiring process that turned away 11 out of 12 applicants. The tragedy of the TSA is that the non-uniformed "Executive Service" managers put in charge of this group survived a hiring process that emphasized political favors, cronyism, and CYA abilities. These are the people who deserve to be lampooned by MAF, and, in fact, Wierzbicki claimed in an email to me that they were the targets of the spot.

Unfortunately, MAF chose to use a scattergun approach, when the precision of a sniper was required. Their video, which Wierzbicki says attacks TSA policy, portrays uniformed TSA folks as incompetent oafs. I pointed out to Wierzbicki that TSA screeners, no matter how long they have been on the job, are subject to daily testing while on x-ray duty, and must re-qualify every six months in a difficult process that evaluates every aspect of their training. Failure to re-qualify means termination. Joe had no reply to this. No one at Move America Forward could even be bothered to attempt to defend the video. In itself, that lack of response says quite a bit about the organization, none of it good.

I can't sit by and watch my former colleagues, dedicated patriots, be maligned by the ignorance of Move America Forward and whatever ad agency hacks produced this video. What's next for this group? If they disagree with policy in Iraq or Afghanistan will they produce a spot showing our soldiers as murderous oafs? Will they become upset with police policy somewhere and dump on the uniformed cops?

Until Move America Forward pulls this spot, they'll get no support from me.

Update: The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler and DeMediacratic Nation agree.

Marvin adds his word.

Ex-cop Signal 94 Lays down the law.