The Swiftboating Of Michael J. Fox, Day 3

Ken AshfordElection 2006, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

GopkeatonWell, it’s still a story, for some reason.

And the right is still attacking Fox. I think it has something to do with the fact that Alex Keaton isn’t the Alex Keaton of the 1980’s (for a refresher, see photo at right).

But I wanted to note that some of the media got it wrong yesterday — Rush did not apologize for saying that Fox was "acting" his symptoms.  In fact, he’s unrepentant:

I stand by what I said. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn’t rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe; it is what I think. It is what I have found to be true.

What’s worse, Rush was caught on video MOCKING Fox’s handicap, prompting this response from a TPM reader:

Have you seen the video of Limbaugh talking about Fox on his show? Scarborough played it over and over and over again this evening, and it’s absolutely grotesque because as he’s talking, Limbaugh is jerkily waving his arms and head around and mocking — yes, mocking — Fox’s jerky Parkinson movements for all he’s worth.

I think it may be the most repellent piece of political video I’ve ever seen. If that gets a little more play, I’d say both Limbaugh and Talent are toast.

By the way, Rush is faaaaaat again.  Heh.

It’s interesting that the GOP "response" ad features Jim Caviezel, an actor who Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion Of The Christ.  And (like the Jesus character in the film), he speaks in Aramaic!  So let me get the rightwing playbook straight:

(1) It’s an outrage when Michael J. Fox, an actual Parkinson’s sufferer, speaks for himself and films a political ad supporting a measure allowing stem cell research, …BUT

(2) Stem cell research opponents create an ad using a fake Jesus speaking in Jesus’ language, and that’s okay.

#1 is manipulative; #2 is not — according to the right wingnuts.  Go figure.

There are other things about the anti-stem cell research rebuttal ad that are — well — bizarre.  Apart from Caviezel, the ad features other big "star power" to counteract that of Michael J. Fox.  They are Jeff Suppan (a baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals), Kurt Warner (a professional quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals), Mike Sweeny (another pitcher, this time from the Kansas City Royals) and Patricia Heaton (from Everybody Loves Raymond).  They all say that the an amendment proposed in Missouri would allow human cloning, although the amendment says "(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being".  [You can read it here — it’s in plain English]. 

And none of them are even originally from Missouri, or have Parkinson’s or Alzeheimer’s, or are victims of spinal cord injuries.  Why exactly should they be listened to?

Any port in a storm, I guess.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX EFFECT:  A national study conducted on the Michael J. Fox ad (wow, that was quick!) revealed the following:

  • Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
  • The level of concern regarding a candidate’s view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans’ level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents’ level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.
  • The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats’ perception increased from 75% to 83%, Republicans’ perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents’ perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing.
  • The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were "not bored and attentive" followed by "sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful."
  • The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was "extremely believable" or "believable." Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it "extremely believable" or "believable."
  • Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.

I guess that accounts for the attacks on Michael Fox’s ad — it works.