As Feingold Runs Afoul of NFL, AP Claims He Is 'Slightly Trailing' In Wis. US Senate Race

PenaltyFlagThe National Football League is whistling incumbent Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's campaign team for illegal use of film.

The campaign has been playing a commercial which includes footage of former Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss's pretend-mooning of Green Bay Packer fans during a 2004 playoff game, and is apparently doing so without the express written consent of the league.

During the course of his coverage of the situation, the Associated Press's Dinesh Ramde demonstrates that he doesn't really know the score of the game that is progress, namely the electoral contest for Feingold's U.S. Senate seat. In that game, the scoreboard at Real Clear Politics has Feingold's Republican opponent currently ahead by an average of nine points over four polls. The latest, from Rasmussen, has Johnson ahead by 12.

To Ramde, these polls indicate that Feingold is "slightly trailing" Johnson.

Here are several paragraphs from Dinesh's deceptive dish:

NFL flags Sen. Feingold's ad for using Moss clip

The NFL is flagging Sen. Russ Feingold's latest ad, asking the Democratic incumbent to pull unauthorized footage of Randy Moss pretending to moon the Green Bay crowd in 2004.

The TV ad, which the campaign said was released statewide Tuesday, opens with a series of clips of football players dancing in the end zone. A four-second clip shows Moss clearly wearing his Minnesota Vikings uniform. The others featured are not playing in NFL games.

"We did not license the footage and have contacted the senator's campaign about removing it," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

Feingold spokesman John Kraus told the AP the campaign is editing the ad "to accommodate the NFL's concerns."

Polls show Feingold slightly trailing his opponent, political newcomer Ron Johnson of Oshkosh, with four weeks left before the general election.

Feingold says in the ad that football celebrations such as the ones shown are called "excessive celebration," punishable by fines and 15-yard penalties.

"It's exactly the kind of behavior the corporate special interests and Ron Johnson are engaging in," he says.

He goes on to say his opponents are celebrating because they think they'll take down a staunch enemy of Washington lobbyists.

"Fortunately the game isn't over yet," he says.

Based on the script described, the Feingold campaign deserves a further penalty for lame use of unauthorized content.

Though of course it's never over until the electoral clock runs out, I'd say that the situation is analogous to 3rd-and-25 at Team Feingold's 10-yard line, down by six points with about two minutes left in the game -- and Russ Feingold isn't Brett Favre.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.