L.A.Times: Attacks Thompson Over ABC Radio Ad
This one is really stretching the limits of any legitimate blame being leveled at Fred Thompson, but the L.A.Times has published a story linking Thompson to businessman with a shady past over a radio advertisement that the Senator narrates for that businessman's company. But, as we find out, Thompson's ABC Radio contract requires that he and other ABC Radio personalities act as narrator for the radio spot, so it isn't like Fred has gone out of his way to endorse this shady businessman's product. Naturally, the L.A. Times has to title the piece "An Awkward Ad By Fred Thompson", even as the Senator barely has a walk on part in the article. Most of the article ends up being about the company that the ad was recorded for and not Thompson. So, the light is shined on Thompson even as the story is not really about him much at all.
In typical tell-all fashion, the L.A.Times breathlessly begins:
Possible presidential candidate Fred D. Thompson is lending his voice to radio commercials for a company that says it fights identity thieves and that was co-founded by a man accused of taking money from consumer bank accounts without permission.Thompson can be heard as the voice for the company LifeLock which offers protection from identity theft.
Now, the set up...
LifeLock was co-founded in 2005 by Robert J. Maynard Jr., whom the Federal Trade Commission accused in 1996 of deceiving consumers with advertisements that suggested his credit-repair company could remove records of bankruptcies and delinquent payments.... then the smear...
Thompson's spokesman, Mark Corallo, said the former senator from Tennessee and actor, best known for his role as the district attorney on NBC television's "Law & Order," did not research the company before becoming LifeLock's pitchman.And now the truth...
Corallo said ABC Radio asked Thompson, as well as other hosts of its syndicated talk programs, to endorse LifeLock, an advertiser on its stations.OK, you might say, they gave us the real scoop. Thompson is just fulfilling his ABC contract, right? Why get all upset at the L.A.Times?
"It's part of the contract," Corallo said. "You can't expect the individual on-air personality to do research on every company."
To answer that, let's tally the paragraphs in this story about how shady this LifLock guy is supposed to be.
The story is 31 (short) paragraphs long. And Thompson is mentioned in only 8 of them.
One is a mention of his leaving the TV show "Law and Order" to begin his campaign for the 2008 election, meaning that this paragraph is not really germane to the article. Two contain the actual lines that Thompson speaks in the radio spot, which does not really speak to the relationship or the shady businessman.
So that leaves 5 paragraphs out of 31 that really have anything to do with Thompson's relationship with the shady businessman and of those five we find out that Thompson is not linked to the company in question but was merely contractually obligated to do the spots through ABC, making Thompson a third party to the deal.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me in a 31 paragraph story in which one person is talked about in only 5 paragraphs, but another guy is the subject of 23 of those paragraphs wouldn't legitimately be titled for the one who appears in less than a quarter of the story! It would seem to me that this story should be titled with the shady businessman's name, not Thompson's.
Further, the story admits that there are "other hosts of its syndicated talk programs" who were required to "endorse LifeLock, an advertiser on its stations." So, why weren't any of those other radio hosts smeared with the guilt by association that Thompson just was? In fact, none of the other radio hosts are even mentioned by name in the story at all.
After taking in the whole piece, you realize that Thompson has almost nothing to do with this story but that his name is the "big name" that will draw readers to it. And, if they can make the Senator appear like a knowing pitch man for a crook among readers who don't think it through, so much the better.
Yep, this one is one lame attempt to cast Senator Thompson in a bad light. And it is another example of the MSM looking to stick a pin in Thompson's big poll ratings, it appears.