A right-wing coalition of organizations dedicated to shipping all illegal immigrants back to their “homes” and sealing U.S.A. borders north, south, east and west has placed a full-page ad in The Nation, a leading liberal magazine, of all places.
The $9,464 ad [click for a PDF | TV spot] for America’s Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning tells readers upset with today’s “massive traffic congestion” and "almost daily gridlock" that they’ve seen nothing yet. The group warns of a doubling of the U.S. population to 600M by 2100, fueled by more people coming here and from children born of immigrants who aren’t legally supposed to be here. It will be permanent gridlock city. And not to mention the horrors of teeming schools, emergency rooms and huge stress to electric utilities and water supplies.
To say the very least, the ad seems out of place among the usual roster of Nation advertisers, such as the ACLU, Bose, HBO, Sony and book publishers hawking their latest lefty offerings.
What gives the ad its power is a six-line mention by the magazine’s editors. Those lines on page 5 of the June 16 issue warn gentle readers about the “mad ad” on page 27. “Needless to say, we disagree with the ad’s premise and politics,” the editors report.
The Nation’s editorial plug refers readers to its ad policy. To its everlasting credit, the magazine accepts all comers when it comes to political advertising, “even if the views expressed are repugnant to the editors.” Only ads that are “patently fraudulent, illegal or libelous in their claims and language” are rejected. There is a “gray area of discretion” when it comes to “ads purveying harmful products” such as cigarettes.
The Nation believes “when we open our pages to political advertising that may be repugnant to the editors, we are furthering our editorial commitment to freedom of speech.” That is a powerful endorsement of the give and take of PR at its best.
Hats off to The Nation! This blogger hopes America’s Leadership Team bankrolls a full schedule in the 143-year old weekly so it can afford to run more stories like its current cover, “Who’ll Unplug Big Media? Stay Tuned,” that is written by media activists Robert McChesney and John Nichols.