When we last talked to Randall Terry, the anti-abortion activist was running in Democratic primaries against Barack Obama, winning substantial protest votes in a few states. The goal: Use FEC rules that grant special TV rights to candidates, and run ads that attack "child-killing." It worked until Democrats argued that Terry was trying to undermine them, and wasn't entitled to delegates.
Terry moved on. He's still running as a presidential candidate in five states, and just won another FEC judgment, in West Virginia. "Because the Station’s [service contour] covers more than a de minimis number of people located in the jurisdiction in which Terry is a legally qualified candidate," ordered the FEC's William Lake, "we believe that it is unreasonable for the Station to refuse to provide reasonable access to Terry. And so Terry et al can keep running ads like these, in all of the districts where Terry candidates are running.
"The ads are all Obama suppression ads," says Terry, "saying that no Christian can in good conscience vote for Obama, because he promotes the murder of babies, attacks the Church, and funds Islamic terrorists."
The two main commercials are "abortion nightmare" and "Muslim nightmare" -- I'm having trouble embedding them here, but you can see 'em at the link. Terry proudly talks me through the candidates and the markets that he wants to blanket. "David Macko in Cleveland -- he is running blistering ads against Obama, that we produced. They show dead babies. Next, Alan Aversa and George Krail in Iowa. They are ONLY running the abortion nightmare ad. Almost all their spots run on news: Early, noon, evening, and late. They reach all of eastern Iowa. Virginia Fuller is a congressional candidate in California, CD-11. Black woman. She is going to run the Muslim Nightmare Ad over the weekend. She will run it in San Francisco, which will even cause more outrage."
Terry made a lot of the same moves in 2010, when he was based in the D.C. suburbs. This year, he bid for more buzz with a 30-second spot responding to Samuel L. Jackson's "wake the fuck up" video and a rap that he read in character as "Sir Reginald Bling."
Send a man who will ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ for us / And a man who will stay in the back of the bus / You’re darn right we’ll work, no you just stay calm / Get Samuel L. Jackson to play uncle Tom.
Jackson threatened a lawsuit; as Stephanie Mencimer reported, this was exactly what Terry wanted. He got new media attention, but didn't change anything for Jackson.
"He is a pussy," says Terry. "Quote me on that. We kept running the ad, until we had to move on to three more ads."
TODAY IN SLATE
The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?
Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data
The Real Secret of Serial
What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.