Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is coming to the rescue of GOP candidates who are being forced to share stock photos of menacing-looking Latinos in their campaign ads.
The liberal blog ThinkProgress revealed Wednesday that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sharon Angle (R-NV) used the same photo of "illegal aliens" in recent campaign ads.
Last month, Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle (R) released an ad that portrayed opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as being the “best friend an illegal alien ever had.” This month, Angle’s latest racially-tinged ad goes after Reid and his support of undocumented students. The ad includes offensive footage of menacing men with flashlights walking along a fence that was featured in her first ad in addition to a new image featuring three scowling Latino men as the narrator proclaims, “and now Harry Reid is fighting for a program that would give preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens.”
Reid’s campaign released a fact check and a statement on the ad saying, “despicably, Angle’s new ad ramps up her use of incendiary imagery to appeal to Nevadans’ worst fears, while using the exact same thoroughly-debunked lies from her first two ads — lies that independent analysts and fact-checkers have called out as false.” However, Angle isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to invoke negative anti-Latino stereotypes. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) used the same exact photo in one of his own attack ads.
It turns out the three men labeled “illegal aliens” by Sharron Angle have been used to scare voters from southern Nevada to the Gulf Coast.
The GOP Senate nominee’s newest ad, attacking rival Harry Reid on immigration, includes a photo of three scowling Hispanic men, presumed to be illegal immigrants, who are out to steal college tuition from deserving Nevada students.
That image however, had already been used by Republican Sen. David Vitter in his attack on opponent Charlie Melancon.
But Republican campaigns aren't the only ones guilty of using otherwise innocent photos to frighten the audience. The Miami News Times discovered Thursday that the Miami Police Department used the likeness of Jay-Z to depict a gang member.
Jay-Z is on the cover of this month's Forbes. But the Miami Police Department still thinks he looks like your typical member of a street gang.
The department's website is currently featuring a large mural-esque banner depicting five tough-looking characters, including one holding a bat and one throwing up a gang sign, and the plea: "Report Gang Activity".
After a brief search of websites selling stock photos, Colbert discovered that there are few photos available of "scary Hispanics."
"This is the most terrifying scenario of all," said Colbert. "There aren't enough stock photos of scary minorities out there to represent all the scary minorities we know have got to be out there."
"I mean, when you do a search for stock photos of Hispanics, all you get are Mexicans, who I assume have been photoshopped to look like they love their families," Colbert joked.
"To address this tragic shortage, I have started my own fear-based photo licensing service, FearStock.com," he announced.
The fake photo service features one photo of Colbert in a "mildly threatening pose" that can be customized to create the desired level of fear.
"For instance, if we move the skin tone slider from white to latte and then put a hammer in my hand, suddenly I'm an illegal immigrant from Guadalajara here to take your job," he explained.
"Mrs. Angle, Senator Vitter, next time use FearStock.com for when reality is not as terrifying as you need it to be," said Colbert.
This video is from Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, broadcast Oct. 7, 2010.