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New political ads feature James Foley’s beheading

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

The video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley is likely being used as part of the propaganda machine behind ISIS, but the group Secure America Now is also using the footage in their own political advertisements.

The conservative group used the footage as part of multiple campaigns meant to target vulnerable Democratic senators throughout the country.  One ad meant to target Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), features the footage of Foley with a voice over saying, according to the Hill, “While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Sen. Shaheen have done nothing.” 

John and Diane Foley, the parents of James, have come out against the use of their son’s final moments for advertisement purposes.  “I think it is deplorable, and I think it should be taken down,” said John Foley, according to Politicus USA.  Diane also commented on the ad saying, “It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes.”

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The head of Secure America Now, Allen Roth, originally defended the use of the footage for the group’s political ads, saying, according to Mediaite, “The image has appeared around the world millions of times… We meant no harm.”

However, after negative publicity from both political parties in New Hampshire and Foley’s parents, the ad was removed from online campaigns in New Hampshire.  Secure American Now released a statement to accompany the removal of the video which reads:

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

The ad is also reportedly being used in Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas to denounce Democratic senators who hold seats in each state.  Whether or not the ads featuring the footage of Foley have been taken down in those states has not yet been confirmed.

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