Monday, November 01, 2010

Teachers' Union Cites Me in Anti-Robert Hurt TV Ad

When, wearing my "Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner" hat as a political writer for, I interviewed state Senator Robert Hurt (R-Chatham) a few days after he won the GOP nomination for Congress in Virginia's Fifth District, what was most striking about the candidate's replies to questions was their blandness.

When asked, for instance, to name three federal programs that he would favor eliminating or privatizing, Hurt could think of only one, the Department of Education, whose purpose, he said, was "not clear."

Such a response was both non-controversial and disappointing. Non-controversial, because eliminating the federal Department of Education has been a goal of the Republican Party since at least 1980. Disappointing, because his answers showed Hurt to lack bold thinking about how best to limit -- or shrink -- the size and scope of the federal government.

So it came as quite a surprise when, months later, the National Education Association began to air a TV ad favoring Hurt's opponent, incumbent Congressman Tom Perriello, and attacking Hurt for those very positions he took in his interview on

In fact, the NEA cited the "Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, 6/13/10" in its campaign commercial, which has been broadcast frequently on local Charlottesville television stations (NBC29, Newsplex) for about two weeks. In the meantime, it has had just 357 hits on YouTube since it was posted there on October 19.  (By comparison, a rough-hewn, meant-for-TV ad posted by independent candidate Jeff Clark has had 360 hits since September 28.  For contrast, check out Hurt's first on-the-air ad, which has had 1,435 hits on YouTube since August 24.)

Here's the NEA's ad, which runs 31 seconds in length (and seems interminable in its frequency on local television):

The NEA's television commercial does not cite my earlier interview with Hurt, in which he asserted that Tom Perriello "dances with Nancy," referring to the current Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  Nor does it cite my interview with Perriello himself, in which he made strange claims to having a "libertarian undercurrent" in his political thinking, or the refutation (one might say "refudiation") of Perriello by actual, local libertarians.

Whether the NEA's ad discourages voters from casting a ballot for Hurt because they disagree with his position on the Department of Education, or whether it encourages other viewers to vote for him because they agree with that position, remains to be seen in the results of the election on November 2.

The fact that the nationwide teachers' union finds -- still a newcomer to the media stage -- a reliable and credible source speaks volumes about the positive potential of this publishing platform.

(This blog post is adapted slightly from an earlier article on

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