Executive Director of Group that Produced Rev. Wright television ads worked on the infamous Clinton Chronicles

So who put together that last minute national television buy of those advertisements featuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

As it turns out, Scott Wheeler, the executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, the group which paid for and produced the ad buy– worked on the infamous Clinton Chronicles– the discredited documentary that accused Bill Clinton of murdering his political opponents, engaging in drug running, and all kinds of other nefarious things that were largely either imaginary or fabricated. For those who don’t recall, or are too young to know, with the backing of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, more than 400,000 copies of the video were distributed and although the film’s allegations were rightfully marginalized in the mainstream, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page amplified– sometimes as legitimate– many of the film’s most lurid allegations.

Here is an article I did way back in 1998 about how the Falwell backed Citizens for Honest Government often paid “witnesses” who had lurid stories to tell about Clinton to compensate them for appearing in the Clinton Chronicles and other conspiratorial films about Clinton which they produced. Many of the false allegations made by the “witnesses”– sometimes influenced by payments arranged by the group– were repeated as gospel on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, on the pages of the American Spectator, and on talk radio. (Other articles I wrote about the adventures of Citizens for Honest Government and those they paid can be found here, here, and here.)

Greg Sargent at TPM has the latest information about the expense and reach of the ad buy:

The National Republican Trust PAC, which has been airing an ad attacking Barack Obama’s association with Reverend Wright in three battleground states, has now put down for a national buy on five networks that will last from now through election day, a consultant with the group confirms to me.

The ad will run nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days, the consultant, Rick Wilson, says — “all the way until election day.”

The ad, which you can watch here, features the now-infamous footage of Wright’s livelier sermons, and intones that Obama “never complained” about Wright “until he ran for President,” adding that Obama is “too radical, too risky.”

Previously, the ad was only running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, as Ben Smith reported the other day.

Now, however, the ad will run nationally, Wilson says, adding that the group just got through getting the spot vetted with network lawyers and is good to go.

Late Update: Wilson tells me that the PAC will have spent $2 million on this national buy by the end of tomorrow.

Here is the video of the ad itself:

Update: if the television networks are going to run these ads, shouldn’t there be an obligation for them– even if they just do short stories on their websites– to tell the public a little more about who is behind them?

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11 Responses to Executive Director of Group that Produced Rev. Wright television ads worked on the infamous Clinton Chronicles

  1. KMF says:

    Chris Matthews said on his Special Edition Hardball @ 8pm (11/02) ……….That Dick Morris is associated w/ The National Republican Trust PAC……………….That’s significant because all last week on the O’Reilly Factor, Morris was saying that the “Republicans” had a 10 million ad buy for the last 36 hours up to the election…………..

  2. Leslie says:

    Re: Your update. I’ve just moved to Washington state where the snail-mailed third party ads have to say who paid for them AND their top five contributors. It’s enlightening, to say the least.

    It’s possible (perhaps likely) this is required on the televised ad but my 10-inch television and rabbit-eared reception makes the half-screen of all-caps print unreadable . . .

  3. thepoetryman says:

    The real and present danger is the fact that it appears that they filmed the commercial in Barack and Michelle’s living room!

  4. thepoetryman says:

    Murray,
    You might want to fix the title of this post.

    “Exectuive Director of Group that Produced Rev. Wright televison ads worked on the infamous Clinton Chronicles”

    -Executive and television-

  5. murrayw says:

    Thanks poetryman. I am indebted to you greatly… I need a copy editor, plus I posted very late at night; read the TPM entry about the ad campaign and thought to myself “I know those guys from somewhere else!”

  6. Frank Libbon says:

    Dick Morris and Fox (News), if one can call it that, have done a disservice to the American people by intentionally publishing filth. It is not winning that counts, but how one behaves. They of course wouldn’t know since they are totally lacking in decency. A Pox on all of them, from one who served in & with the US Army for 43 years and took the Oath to Defend the Constitution.

  7. Mr. Waas,

    I am a great fan of yours. Your reporting about the Jack Goldmsith and the secret cabal at the DOJ defending the constitution gave me much-needed reassurance that there were at least a few people in DC who still cared about civil liberties.

    Re the National Republican Trust PAC – I have been digging into their financial reports filed with the FEC and I’m not sure the NRT PAC Trust is on the up and up.

    It was registered on 9/29 and at 1015, it had raised $460k and had $205k in cash on hand. The NRT PAC then spent $5.2 million in the next three weeks on mdeia buys. $3.1 million for television ads and $2.1 for who knows what. (Some of the $2.1 million may have gone to Drudge.)

    My first questin is whether the NRT PAC raised $5.2 million in less than two weeks and if it didn’t, who extended credit or guaranteed the debt?

    What also caught my eye is the firm placing the $5.2 in media buys, the Philipse Brook Group, Inc. which was only registered in NYS on 8/19.

    The address of the firm is the home of Joe and Jennifer Mercurio. Joe has been a political consultant in the NYC area for more than thirty years and is oft-quoted in the media. Sometimes, he is described as a Dem, other times as a Republican. But never as an extreme right winger or neocon. He claims that he recently was a media consultant on Joe Biden’s primary bid.

    Joe Mercurio probably is best known in NYC for having been fired by C. Virginia Fields, a 2005 mayoral candidate, when a campaign group photo was found to be doctored to include an Asian couple for diversity.

    Jennifer Mercurio is a lobbyist who, up until a couple of years ago, lobbied at the state level. She claims to be an Obama fan on her web page at MyObama.

    If Philipse Brook Group was registered on 8/19 specifically to place those despicable ads, the Mercurios must have been in on what seems to have been a secret project.

    The Obama/Atta ad was not only sleazy, as FactCheck.org wrote, it was false. That ad should never have been broadcast on television. Linking a presidential candidate to one of the world’s most infamous and well-known terrorists was disgraceful and inexcusable.

    Yet the Mercurios apparently had no problem taking money to get them on the air and no problem getting them on the air.

    Why would the well-connected wingnuts running the NRT PAC hire the Mercurios? Wheeler and Leitner could have given the work to any number of their right wing pals. Instead, they apparently trusted the Mercurios, two seemingly center or center left NYers. Doesn’t make sense.

    I posted some info about the NRT PAC at TPM and Kos. Follow the link and read the comments.

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