Bush Propaganda Campaign Triggers Olympic Protests

30 August 2004

Long shot: an apparently Olympic swimming venue. Cut to medium closeup of swimmers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Intones a magisterial voice: "In 1972 there were forty democracies in the world. Today, 120. Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations. And two fewer terrorist regimes. With strength, resolve and courage, democracy will triumph over terror. And hope will defeat hatred."

The TV spot ends with the tagline: "President Bush. Moving America Forward."

And whilst it might wow' em in the Texas boondocks, the Republican-funded TV commercial has gone down like a lead balloon with the US Olympic Committee, which says it does not allow the unauthorized use of Olympic imagery.

USOC then formally requested the White House to withdraw the ad. But, predictably, the demand failed to make it onto the victor's podium. The ad would continue to be aired until Sunday's Olympic closing ceremony, responded a Bush campaign spokesman

The bushman told AdAge.com: "We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics to make a factual point in a political advertisement. The ad reflects the president's optimism that freedom is overcoming terror, and democracy is spreading throughout the world," he said.

The International Olympic Committee is a non-partisan organization that does not associate itself with political causes or campaigns.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff