New Lhota Attack Links De Blasio to Body Bags, Graffiti, Crime of Past

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A new racially-tinged campaign ad from Republican Joe Lhota says Democrat Bill de Blasio is a dangerous threat to the city's low crime rates. Lhota links de Blasio to images of body bags, police tape and flipped cars, and makes explicit a warning the Lhota campaign has only hinted at so far.

"Bill de Blasio's recklessly dangerous agenda on crime will take us back to this," a narrator says over foreboding music. Then, old images flash across the screen: riot police, graffiti, body bags on the sidewalk, and a white woman gripping a subway pole with a black man sitting behind her.  As the ad closes the image of the black man grows larger.

The ad is running on broadcast television, in what the Lhota campaign calls "a significant buy." It criticizes de Blasio's budget votes as a  councilman for reducing the number of police officers, and mocks de Blasio for saying police should go to motorcycle clubs after the recent West Side Highway chase and beating to warn against dangerous riding. De Blasio had urged that officials take  "proactive" approach to dealing with motorcycle gangs, as they have with other gangs.

It's much more pointed and negative than Lhota has gone before. He largely demurred in the first debate when he was asked directly whether de Blasio would make the city less safe. "It might be less safe with him because he's untested," Lhota said at one point.

De Blasio called Lhota's ad divisive and desperate, and likened it to Willie Horton, the now infamous attack ad from 1988 in which Democrat Michael Dukakis was linked to a black prisoner who raped a woman while out on furlough.


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Comments [7]


More on bad advertising - the weirdest thing to me about this ad is that the overlying message is that under de Blasio, we'd see a return to the type of crime that existed under Dinkins, that de Blasio would undo all the success of the city's current law enforcement leadership and its practices, which Lhota supports. But then it references a crime that happened just recently and was notable for the fact that it involved off-duty cops. It's just a poorly thought out clash of messages. Lhota supports our law enforcement and so should you! But, you know, just not the cops that we just showed you kicking a man unconscious (or at least standing by and watching). Crime was bad then, but we're safe now and should stay that way! Again, aside from that horrifying, very recent crime we just showed you. Got it? No?

Oct. 29 2013 01:23 PM
Jason Moore from Manhattan

Why is the ad racist? The black man sitting behind the old white lady does not look menacing or is threatening anyone. In fact the black man is commuting to/from a corporate job with his long rain coat and briefcase. So whoever thinks this ad is racist because their is a black businessman sitting behind the old white lady is a racist themselves. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Oct. 23 2013 10:13 PM
Katherine from Brooklyn, NY

Ive been wondering when the attack ads against DeBlasio would begin. No doubt Giuliani is behind this, but also David Koch and his wife, who each contributed $175,000 to Lhota's campaign in September. Lhota claimed then that he didnt know about theor contribution and wouldn't be beholden to anyone. Really??

There are racial overtones in this ad, but interestingly, as someone else comments here, it doesn't say who we should vote for. Furthermore, anyone who's been listening to DeBlasio or to the news about the mayoral candidates knows that this ad is ridiculous. They know that DeBlasio promises to improve the lives of ALL New Yorkers by creating more affordable housing, jobs, and levying a tiny tax on New Yorkers who make more than $500K to create a city-wide kindergarten and after-school program for all public-school children. All this would have the effect of reducing crime.

And although the ad doesn't mention stop-and-frisk, there is no evidence that it has brought the crime rate down or that ending it would increase crime. I believe DeBlasio wants to institute a policy of closer neighborhood policing but don't know how it would work.. This would be a good question to ask in the upcoming debates.

This ad obviously aims to play on people's fears and sway those who don't read or listen to the news.

Oct. 17 2013 11:17 AM
wide-eyed1 from Manhattan

My apologies to one and all.

It has been a crazy 24 hours and I'm not really "up" yet. Of course Bill has not yet beaten Lhota! That was the other race I've been watching ... the mayor over in Newark, don'tcha know. I guess it was just wishful thinking that this race for mayor would be over too. It's getting real ugly ... and as Flatbushfred said, it "reeks of desparation." Tea anyone?

Oct. 17 2013 10:34 AM
Lee Gelber from Astoria

That commercial could be titled Willie Horton II and the divisive hand of Rudy Giuliani seems to be evident.
Now a long overdue comment - Anna Sale is a terrific reporter

Oct. 17 2013 10:13 AM
wide-eyed1 from Manhattan

The first time I saw this ad on TV, I was offended ... and confused. IMO it is bad advertising. It used images that are "unbelievable." The subways will never go back to looking like that because they are made of different materials now. And, yes, the racism showed.

But what made it "bad" is that I don't remember seeing or hearing the candidate's name that I should vote for if I don't want all these terrible things to happen again. They were so focused on trashing deBlasio that they forgot who they were working for. Or so it seemed. I'll have to go back and watch it again. (Yuch!)

Anyway, it didn't work, did it. This is Thursday morning and the results are in -- 55-45, Bill. (Yayy!!)

Oct. 17 2013 09:56 AM
flatbushfred from Brooklyn

Reeks of desperation.

Oct. 17 2013 08:28 AM

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