The Alf Grumble re-election campaign team will be having a strategy session tonight.
They will be examining the ramifications of an unseemly intervention in the election campaign by a prissy mob called the Advertising Standards Authority.
This bunch have given the thumbs down to the Youtube advertisement and ordered it be removed.
The video thus banned begins with the Internet Mana Party logo and the phrase “Join the Revolution” and includes video footage – pretty ugly stuff, in Alf’s view – of an event featuring “Kim Dotcom Internet Party Founder and Visionary”.
Those at this “event” react to a number of statements from Kim Dotcom and then chant “Fuck” John Key” a number of times.
If you were not aware of this video and its contents, a media statement from the authority gives us more detail:
The word ‘fuck’ is bleeped in each instance. The advertisement ends with the words “Change the Government, Party vote Internet Mana” and a promoter’s statement.
Obviously the word “fuck” is not the problem because the Advertising Standards Authority have not bleeped it in their media statement, nor reduced it to f***.
Nope. Denigrating a political opponent is the problem.
The Complainant, B. McCoskrie said the advertisement “denigrates another political leader in an offensive fashion.
This is a shame because the fun will be taken out of politicking if opponents can’t be denigrated, disparaged, besmirched, slandered and vilified.
So what did the authority decide?
The authority tells us:
In considering the acceptability or otherwise of the advertisement, a significant issue for the Complaints Board was the personal nature of the content.
The Complaints Board agreed that political parties as organisatons should be prepared for robust expression of opinion from all voters which may take a range of forms.
However, the Complaints Board unanimously agreed the use of a strong expletive with the name of the leader of a political party, packaged into an advertisement calling for a change in Government, was likely to offend against generally prevailing community standards and was in breach of Rule 4 of the Code of Ethics.
This strikes Alf is being more than somewhat extreme.
He can remember his years on the Opposition benches and his desperation to get off them and on to the Government benches.
He had no qualms in calling for a change of government.
So the problem seems to be making this call without using a strong expletive in connection with the name of the leader of a political party.
But the leaders of some political parties can not be appropriately talked about without the application of a strong expletive, and maybe more than one expletive in some cases.
No names here, but…
As to “generally prevailing community standards”, how come they can be applied to scuttling the Dotcom ad?
You only have to watch the telly for a few hours to find anything goes nowadays and the “f” word often pops up in programmes which also show members of the cast in a state of undress doing things to each other that Alf is sure The Almighty never intended.
The bloody “c” word can be heard nowadays too, to add further naughtiness to these programmes.
Notwithstanding these realities about the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah we have created and seem prepared to tolerate, the Advertising Standards Authority says it supports robust expression of opinion in advocacy (and political) advertising.
…, the Complaints Board considered this advertisement had gone beyond what was acceptable. In light of this, the support for freedom of expression in an advertising context had not offset the breach of generally prevailing community standards.
And so the Complaints Board has agreed that (1) the advertisement was in breach of Rule 4 of the Code of Ethics, (2) it had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society and (3) it was in breach of Basic Principle 4 of the Code. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to uphold the complaint.
Dunno what happens if the Intenet Mana Party tells the authority to go and get stuffed.
But Alf and his campaign team will be reviewing some material we had prepared which was aimed – blatantly and deliberately – to denigrate our opponents.
Our Youtube happened to use a naughty word (but we bleeped it in each instance) to describe certain party leaders and it ended with the words “Don’t Change the Government, Party vote National” and a promoter’s statement.
We might have to rework it
But the most galling aspect of the Advertising Standards mob’s censorship is that the material it has banned was so gross that its effect was to win support for the PM and his team.
The more people who saw it – Alf is sure – the more they would have been repulsed by Dotcom and would have flocked to vote National.