I am required by contract to ask the question "Why is Ann Althouse Wisconsin's most widely-read blogger?" at least twice a year. It's been too long since I have moved to fulfill that part of my contract, so I'm tossing a post together tonight.
I did not ask the question last March, though I sorely wanted to and even have a text file somewhere with the links saved, when Althouse went off on Hillary Clinton's "3 AM" ad. (Watch it on YouTube, here, if you have forgotten it.) There were lots of reasons not to like that ad--for example, the suggestion that Barack Obama is too dumb to know what to do in a crisis; I trust Obama to have the best minds for any emergency on speed dial (perhaps even Senator Clinton herself) and to handle whatever comes up pretty well. It's what all presidents do, the current one excepted, of course.
Yet what Althouse chose to criticize about the ad was, instead, pajamas. Specifically--in two separate posts, no less--she claimed that an image of a sleeping little girl was filmed and arranged on screen just so in order for three letters from the words on her pajamas (the N, I, and G of "Good Night") were on screen. In essence, she claimed--in two separate posts, no less--that the Hillary camp cut an ad calling Barack Obama a nigger.
I think you can see both why I wanted to ask the question related to those posts and why I chose not to goad her any further, especially after it was revealed that the ad used stock footage that was almost a decade old, and not any kind of Reifenstahlian racist camera tricks.
But I ask the question tonight because I note a distinct absence on her blog today of that kind of sleuthery related to a new John McCain ad. (Watch it on YouTube, here.) This is a screenshot of the crucial moment:
You'll note that the McCain campaign has clearly cropped the background at an odd angle, eliminating the first and last letters of the word "change," which, of course, spells HANG. Now, the cropping to get that word seems much more deliberate--though until I hear otherwise, I'm willing to give McCain the benefit of the doubt--and the idea of hanging accompanying a photo of an African American man recalls an all too real and all too horrific time in America's recent past.
The threat of lynching is much more disgustingly violent than a mere epithet. Yet Althouse, who spent an awful lot of time and effort--in two separate posts, no less--on an imagined epithet hasn't applied her keen analytical skills to the McCain ad at all. Where are you when we need you, Ann?