Media Transparency

Anti-Abortion Group Tries to Swiftboat Obama

Two weeks ago,, an anti-abortion group headed by Jill Stanek, launched a major attack on Sen. Barack Obama with a very personal and heart-wrenching television advertisement aimed at the voters in the toss-up states of New Mexico and Ohio. The ad, which according to Stanek cost the organization $338,000 to run -- in addition to what it is paying its public relations firm, CRC Public Relations -- was titled "The Gianna ad," and features Gianna Jesson, who is identified as an "Abortion Survivor."

"My name is Gianna Jesson, born 31 years ago after a failed abortion," Jesson states in the ad. "But if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here. Four times Barack Obama voted to oppose a law to protect babies left to die after failed abortions. Senator Obama, please support Born Alive Infant Protection. I'm living proof these babies have a right to live."

The ad, paid for by conservative philanthropist Raymond Ruddy, "singles out Obama's efforts while in the Illinois Senate to defeat the Born Alive Infants Protection Act," according to the Associated Press' Jim Kuhnhein. The AP story reported that "Obama and abortion rights forces in Illinois have said the bill would have undermined the landmark Supreme Court case on abortion, Roe v. Wade."

The BornAliveTruth spot has garnered a great deal of media attention for both Jesson and Stanek. In a late-September telephone interview, Stanek told Media Transparency that both she and Jesson have made a number of television and radio appearances. According to Stanek, in its first two weeks, the ad garnered more than 200,000 hits on YouTube and other websites that have made it available.
Jesson recently appeared on the Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" program -- the video of which is featured at the BornAliveTruth website. In addition to coverage in the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Times and the Associated Press, the organization's launch received blanket coverage from such like-minded sites as Conservative Grapevine, Catholic News Service, LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, Stop the ACLU, OneNewsNow, and many more.

The Mokena, Illinois-based's "Mission Statement" declares that it is "a 527 political organization whose mission is to educate the public on the IL Born Alive Infants Protection Act and Barack Obama's record opposing this act."

According to a "Description Statement" on its website, the organization maintains that it is a "non-partisan issues advocacy organization dedicated to the proposition that any infant born alive is entitled to receive medical attention and be treated as a human being. We work to inform the public of the importance of this issue, legislative efforts to protect born alive infants, and how our elected officials have voted on born alive protections. is your best source for information about this issue and our activities."

In the "Know the Facts" section of the Obama campaign provided a lengthy point-by-point rebuttal of's charges as well as charges by other anti-abortion groups (see "The Truth Behind False, Outrageous Lies about Obama and ''Born Alive.'')

In late August,, a well-respected project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which describes itself as "a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics," looked closely at the issue after the National Right to Life Committee claimed that Obama had conducted "four-year effort to cover up his full role in killing legislation to protect born-alive survivors of abortions":

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Right-Wing Front Group Rolls Out Smear Movie on Obama

It won't be a post-Labor Day blockbuster or win critical acclaim, but Bossie's Citizens United is rolling out 'Hype: The Obama Effect,' an anti-Obama documentary that aims to make waves.

Regnery has published a major anti-Obama book -- David Freddoso's "The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate" -- and 2004 Swiftboater Jerome Corsi has written his -- "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality." All sorts of folks are peddling anti-Obama t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and more. Now it's David Bossie's turn for a big politico/merchandizing play.

Although still a relatively young man, Bossie, the president of Citizens United, has been a political mudslinger for a nearly two decades. He gained some national notoriety in the 1990s when he was relentless in his pursuit of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and later that decade was fired from his position as an investigator for a House committee. Earlier this year, Bossie "took out classified newspaper ads in Columbia University's newspaper and the Chicago Tribune ... searching for [Obama's] ... term paper," supposedly a thesis on Soviet nuclear disarmament, Jim Popkin, NBC News Senior Investigative Producer, reported in late July. Although he could find it, he wrote in an e-mail to NBC News that "A thesis entitled Nuclear Disarmament, written at the height of The Cold War in 1983, might shed some light upon what Barack Obama thought about our most pressing foreign policy issue for 40-plus years (U.S.-Soviet Relations)."

Obama effect

Bossie's biggest play this election season is the production of an anti-Obama film: On the eve of the Democratic Party convention in Denver, Citizens United Productions will premiere its full-length documentary, "Hype: The Obama Effect." The film is unlikely to be a blockbuster, it thus far hasn't generated the buzz Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911" did before its release, and will surely not be hitting the festival circuit. In fact, thus far, there are no movie houses listed under the "Theater" section of the website, scheduled to show the film.

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