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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Viral YouTUBE Spot Slams OH-02 Dem Vic Wulsin: Outraged Black Denies It's His

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A three-minute viral ad called the Color Of Change Is Black has mysteriously appeared on YouTUBE and its slams OH-02 Democrat Vic Wulsin as a super liberal who is soft on abortion, soft on terror and supportive of gun control. Wulsin's primary opponent, Steve Black, disavows the ad as a political dirty trick and wants it pulled off YouTUBE immediately. The ad uses images of infants in the womb and video of the two hijacked airliners slamming into the Twin Towers on 9/11. A note accompanying the ad says Ohio's 2nd district Democrats "deserve someone better than Victoria Wulsin on election day. Vote for Steve Black."

The ad has gotten about 5,600 views over the last week. But Black says it was not made by his campaign. He has faxed and e-mailed Google -- the corporate parent of YouTUBE -- demanding that the ad be removed. He says he has lawyers drafting a formal cease and desist notice. The fax states:

"The mention of my name in the caption to this video is unauthorized. Neither I nor any person in my campaign has any involvement in this outrageous production. We must ask you to remove this video from your website immediately. Your failure to do so would cause injury to all concerned in the politics of Southern Ohio."

[UPDATE: 4:29 PM edt -- Chris Baker at Ohio 2nd has also spoken to Steve Black. Baker says the ad reeks and has a Karl Rovian touch. Baker was not impressed by its production quality, and suspects it might be some kind of GOP attempt to harm Democrats.]

[UPDATE 2: 8:46 PM edt -- Matt Naugle at Right Angle Blog is praising the ad, and questions only the quality of the production, not its content or mysterious origination. He says the appearance of the viral attack ad in an Ohio congressional race represents the kind of weapon Republicans need to use aggressively against Democrats. Is Matt hinting he knows that it is a GOP production?]

[UPDATE 3: -- The video has been removed by whoever put it on YouTUBE. OH-02's Chris Baker has a snapshot.]

When Black contacted The Bellwether earlier today, he said Color Of Change Is Black was created maliciously to harm both his and the Wulsin campaign. He said he planned to contact Wulsin to see if there is some response they could undertake jointly. He sounded genuinely upset and nearly beside himself. Black is a downtown Cincinnati lawyer who was a Republican until this year. He switched parties to run in the primary against Wulsin, the Dems 2006 nominee in OH-02. Black said he was disgusted with the Bush administration and national GOP policies, and he is worried that the viral ad will wreck his chances as a Democrat.

"I'm afraid that 5,600 people are going to think Steve Black put that out there. We would never put something like that out there," Black told The Daily Bellwether, adding that he learned of the ad about 24 hours ago. "It's clearly a smear. It's posted anonymously. The worst part of it it urges people to vote for Steve Black. It's disgusting, it's deplorable.

"We've been trying to figure out who did it. We don't know yet. People acted in a completely anonymous way. They should be held accountable. This is political speech. It should have some identification about who did it. It's not mine."

So far, no reaction from Wulsin.


  1. The smarter tactic for Black would be to focus on the copyright violations. I don't think that Google will pull something because of the health of southern Ohio politics.

  2. Hi Chris --

    Thanks for stopping by. I cofess don't know how the legal and non-legal processes for getting something pulled from YouTUBE. Obviously there are laws about copyright, and also I think there are laws meant to stop people from circulating falsified campaign-related material. In the old days, that would be a pamphlet or flyer with a doctored photo or something like that. The source of the material would not be attributed or identified. Or would be a made up organization. Sometimes people would be hired to put them on windshields in parking lots or churches on Sunday. This is a high-tech version of that old trick.

    But I don't know how strong those campaign literature laws are, and how difficult they are to enforce. Where do you see that Black has standing for enforce a copyright violation? Is he the owner or beneficiary of some of the copyrighted material that was used? The song? The film clip? Something like that?

    Anyhow, this is going to play out in an interesting way. I'm sure we are going to be hearing more and learning more in the next few days. It seems to be a pretty well orchestrated dirty trick. Who benefits from it? And who gets hurt? I haven't thought that through yet . . .

    Any ideas, Chris?
    het uas . laws ge,

  3. I'm sure with all those people with him at that big shiny law office he can figure something out.