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People are boycotting ABC after it ran a Republican ad that showed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on fire

People are boycotting ABC after it ran a Republican ad that showed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on fire
[Photo: Walt Disney Television/Heidi Gutman]

If you’re on social media this morning and see the hashtag #bocyottABC everywhere, here’s why: During Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, broadcaster ABC ran a political ad for a Republican-supporting PAC, New Faces GOP. In the ad, a photograph of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is shown before being set alight and being consumed in flames.

New Faces GOP is run by a former Republican House candidate, Elizabeth Heng, and her supporters. The PAC is based in California, where Heng has been billed as a rising Republican star and the right’s answer to the massive popularity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the left.

In the ad, Heng declares: “Mine is the face of freedom. My skin is not white. I’m not outrageous, or racist, or a socialist. I’m a Republican.”

Of course, it’s easy to take offense to this ad and be outraged by it—that’s exactly what people who run outrageous ads want you to do. They want you to take to social media condemning them because it raises their profile among their base.

Should ABC have run the ad? Absolutely not. (A spokesperson for the network declined to comment when asked why it was allowed.) Its images may easily spur or incite violence directed not just toward Ocasio-Cortez herself but people of color in general, or women, or all supporters of socialist policies. Yet giving the tasteless ad attention only serves to further the goals of the person it features. Maybe it’s time we start giving politicians attention for their policies, not for the outrage they can generate.

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