The ad opens showing Lake and says she will “stand with Arizona’s border sheriffs,” a plea to anti-immigration voters. It immediately cuts to footage of marching troops. Those troops are Russian soldiers, not Arizona National Guardsmen.
Heartland Signal reports, “this footage can be found in its original form on the stock footage website Shutterstock, which shows that the troops are, in fact, Russian soldiers marching in a victory parade.”
“Another website called Russian Army Shop sells the very same uniforms shown in the footage, which is the desert camouflage version of Russian Army fatigues. These are very different from the Arizona National Guard uniforms.”
Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, blasted Lake.
“If Kari Lake can’t identify a uniformed member of the Arizona National Guard from a Russian soldier, she has no business leading our brave men and women as governor,” Hobbs told Heartland Signal.
Lake is considered by some to be a Christian nationalist. Her recent endorsement of Jarrin Jackson, an virulently antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist extremist who tells his supporters being LGBTQ is a “gateway to pedophilia,”and that “Jews will go to hell,” received wide condemnation. Lake, a former journalist, responded by stating it’s “impossible to dig into everything someone has said in their life. If his reported comments are true, I obviously rescind my endorsement.”
She did not condemn Jackson, but stated: “I respect Jarrin’s service to our Nation, but clearly denounce that kind of derogatory language. Let me be clear: Our great movement welcomes anyone and everyone who wants to fight for a better future,” as Axios Phoenix reported.
Lake is far from the only Republican who uses Russian video and photos in their work.
House Republicans led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago “unveiled their ‘Commitment to America’ agenda for 2023 ― and with it, an inspirational video chock full of scenes presented as exceptional imagery of America but that are actually stock footage from Russia and Ukraine,” HuffPost reported.
“Serg Grbanoff, a filmmaker based in Russia…told HuffPost that he filmed” a scene used in the GOP’s video “in Russia’s Volgograd region.”
“In another scene,” HuffPost reports, “a boy is seen smiling and running in a field with a toy airplane. The words ‘Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ appear on the screen, a reference to the Declaration of Independence.”
That “clip was also created by Grbanoff, and also filmed in the Volgograd region of Russia.”
That’s not the first time McCarthy has used Russian footage.
In 2019, as NCRM reported, McCarthy released an ad defending then-President Donald Trump which included footage from Russia.
The ad itself was widely mocked, but that CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified the stock footage was from Russia. Several years ago McCarthy was caught saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is paying Trump.
In 2020 Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee asked Americans to “support our troops” in an ad that ran on 9/11. It featured Russian fighter jets and a soldier carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
“According to a review by American Ledger,” that website, published by the progressive super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, reported in 2020, “a political advertisement featuring several Texas Republican congressional candidates used stock footage of a Russian warship and an Israeli military helicopter to promote their campaigns.”
“Cut by Representative Dan Crenshaw’s campaign, the ad is inspired by a range of action and spy films and features a slate of candidates running for the House of Representatives in Texas: Wesley Hunt (TX-7), August Pfluger (TX-11), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Genevieve Collins (TX-32), and Crenshaw (TX-2) himself.”
It’s been going on for years.
In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump released an ad decrying the treatment of American vets.
“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump said in a video. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.”
Gawker at the time reported “it was pulled down before most anyone could see it after commenters pointed out that the footage clearly depicted Russian veterans wearing the distinctive St. George ribbon and pins with the Communist hammer and sickle.”
For reasons unknown the accidental usage of Russian imagery appears to have only occurred in ads by Republicans and only Russian footage. Footage from any other country, for instance, Canada, Australia, or Mexico, does not appear to have ever mistakenly been used.
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