The World Wildlife Fund has condemned and distanced itself from a controversial ad done on its behalf by ad agency DDB Brazil. The ad, shown above, depicts dozens of airplanes headed toward Manhattan and the still-standing Twin Towers with the tagline, “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”
While the ad’s claim may be numerically accurate, it’s beyond disgusting to use the specter of September 11th this way. Exploitation of the tragedy of that day, either by the right or the left, for any political cause is mind-numbingly insensitive, particularly on behalf of a subject, the environment, not even tangentially related to terrorism.
I have no idea what the hell DDB Brazil, who managed to win an award for this, was thinking when they came up with this. Maybe they thought the shock value would be cool enough to get people interested in the environment, but the vast majority of folks will be turned off by this kind of trivialization of terror victims. Michelle Malkin points out that they’ve been behind tasteless ads in the past, and this one sure fits their M.O.
The fact is, tsunami victims aren’t better or worse than victims of terror; both are victims, plain and simple, of tragedy. Actually, there is a difference – one group was killed by a massive tidal wave created by an undersea earthquake, and one was killed through the deliberate and orchestrated actions of 19 human terrorists. Is one more worthy of sympathy and sorrow than the other? No, but the causes of death aren’t even close on the moral equivalency scale.
Update: A bit of chest-thumping. I’ve been quoted in an article in the UK Telegraph on this subject. Pretty cool.