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Ethically Empty: Whitman Campaign Rips Off FAIL Blog UI

In her campaign for California governor, Meg Whitman (R) has created a YouTube attack video which implies that Jerry Brown (D) has had an appearance on the Cheezburger Network FAIL Blog. Ben Huh is steamed:

We want to make it VERY clear that [neither] FAIL Blog nor the Cheezburger Network had any involvement or knowledge of the Whitman campaign use of a screenshot of FAIL Blog.

It’s crystal clear that the Whitman campaign used the FAIL Blog interface when designing the two-second clip. The Whitman ad screen grabs are at ~50-52 seconds.

Fail Blog Annotated
FAIL Blog Home Page
Meg Whitman Ad
Meg Whitman Ad Imitates FAIL Blog UI : Home Page
FAIL Blog
FAIL Blog Entry UI
Meg Whitman Ad
Meg Whitman Ad Imitates FAIL Blog UI

When are politicians going to wise up and direct their campaign staff not to cut digital corners? Many eyes will out the transgressor.

I am not a lawyer (IANAL), so I’m not going to voice a opinion on the legality of ripping of FAIL Blog’s UI. However, the action is clearly unethical.

I’ll leave the discussion of attack politics for another day.

Update:
The image of Brown seems to have been lifted from someone’s video. There is a “credit” line on the image, but the article cited does not have a photo of Brown nor is it about Brown. Citation on image is the reporter, not a photographer: Meredith May, State’s take-charge guy walks and talks in Oakland, San Francisco Chronicle, June 03, 2003. Even more curious.

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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