Update: A recut version of the ad has been posted on YouTube. See below.
I am, frankly, amazed that someone as media-experienced as Greg Guma would produce a political ad showing his opponent with a target on his face followed by the sound of a gunshot. That’s just a complete WTF in my book.
Guma posted the ad, which attacks Mayor Miro Weinberger for being too pro-development, on YouTube a few days ago. The “target” is actually the logo of the Target chain, and it’s an unspoken reference to the possibility that a Target department store might become a tenant in the renovated Burlington Town Center mall.
It’d take a singularly savvy viewer to catch that reference. In real time, it’s a target over Weinberger’s face followed by a gunshot.
This is not okay. And Guma should know better.
Apparently he doesn’t. He’s defending the ad as “humorous.” Yeah, ha ha ha, politician, target, gunshot. Fun-nee.
We can’t judge the alleged humorousness because Guma has pulled the ad from YouTube. But he did so, not because it’s tasteless, but because the Weinberger photo was taken by the Burlington Free Press, which jealously guards its copyrights. He told the Free Press that he might repost the ad with a different photo, complete with target and gunshot.
It may already be too late for this, but what Guma needs to do is issue a profound apology for the ad. And not one of those weaselly “I’m sorry to anyone who was offended…” Just a plain old “I was wrong, I apologize to Mayor Weinberger and the voters of Burlington, and I won’t do it again.”
Also, anyone in the liberal/progressive community who’s supporting Guma for Mayor: please don’t try to make excuses for this. There is no excuse. Remember when Sarah Palin’s PAC produced an ad that put gun sights on a map of the United States, each representing a Democrat she was hoping to defeat? Guma’s ad is the same thing.
Actually, it’s worse. At least Palin’s ad didn’t have any pictures of politicians.
Postscript. It looks like Guma has posted a new version of the ad, minus Weinberger’s photo and the gunshot sound. Still waiting for the apology. Note that this ad was posted today, February 13.