March 24, 2011- In advance of an Oklahoma senate vote on collective bargaining disputes between cities and public unions, firefighter groups have put together an advertisement that's drawn sharp criticism for its choice of imagery. The ad juxtaposes images of firefighters with that of a bombed out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the site of the infamous April 1995 Oklahoma City bombings. In the video, a narrator entreats "We're there when you need us. Now we need you. Tell politicians to do what's right."
According to The Oklahoman, GOP state senator Fred Holt, who sponsored the bill, lambasted the ad, saying that it's backers "should be ashamed of this horrific and tasteless commercial" and that "the victims and heroes of April 19th are not political pawns to be exploited whenever the Legislature seeks to reform a union negotiating process." The video circulated on conservative blogs with the bolded title "They will stop at nothing…," an apparent reference to the firefighters union ties to the AFL-CIO and the International Association of Firefighters.
Take a look at the video below. Obviously using terrorism imagery is sensitive, and can be a pretty tacky way to get attention. But given the ubiquity of burning World Trade Center footage in political ads (take a look at Rick Lazio, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich's PAC ads below) it's hard to see why it shouldn't be fair game for firefighters to use footage of them doing their jobs during disasters.