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The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart forced the resignation of Terry Nelson, a consultant to the company who was connected late last week to a controversial political ad that was aired in the Tennessee senatorial race.

As reported on MNB last Friday, the television commercial was produced for GOP Senate candidate Bob Corker, and charged that Democratic candidate Harold Ford Jr. attended a Super Bowl party thrown by Playboy magazine and accepted campaign contributions for porn producers. The ad has been much criticized for having racist overtones because it showed a white woman with blond hair and bare shoulders looking into the camera and whispering, "Harold, call me," then winking. Rep. Ford is black.

The provocative nature of the ad was criticized in some quarters as being racist, and led to Rev. Jesse Jackson and calling for Nelson to be fired. But the ad also infuriated the Canadian ambassador to the US, Michael Wilson, because it criticized Ford’s position on defense issues by having an actor playing a Ford supporter saying, “Canada can take care of North Korea. They’re not busy.”

Wilson complained to the White House about how his country was being characterized, reportedly noting that Canada has troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO forces there.

Nelson originally was hired by Wal-Mart as one of two consultants – the other was a Democrat – to help it improve its corporate image in the face of consistent attacks from pro-labor groups and other opponents. He’s also been working with the company in an effort to get its employees to register and vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.
KC's View:
That happened even faster than we expected, but we suppose that Wal-Mart had little choice. In a political and cultural environment where missteps are amplified through the plethora of media outlets and in which tolerance for perceived political incorrectness can be interpreted as endorsing questionable positions, timidity of action could only heart the Bentonville Behemoth.

That said, we thought the commercial was a lot more than just politically incorrect or an accidental misstep. As we said on Friday, we thought the ad was disgusting, and had nothing to do with legitimate and mature political discourse.

We stand by that assessment. Not everyone agrees with us, though. Big surprise there. Check out “Your Views,” below for some of the email we received in response to our judgment.