Twitter and Facebook have banned a political ad by Eric Greitens, the former governor of Missouri who is now running for a senate seat, that shows him metaphorically hunting for “Republicans In Name Only (RINO).”
In the ad, Greitens is storming a house with military operators in a documentary-style video. Everyone is armed and although the ad is playful, not everyone is taking it as a light-hearted stab at the Washington, D.C., establishment.
Missouri state senate Republican floor leader Caleb Rowden contacted the Missouri Highway Patrol over the ad, saying he hoped Greitens would “get the help he needed.” Rowden would be considered as part of the Republican establishment toward whom the ad was targeted. His response shows that Greitens is over the target and his opponents are concerned.
Facebook is doing its part to carry water for the establishment by claiming that the ad violated its policies against violence and incitement, even though no specific person was targeted in the ad. Twitter ratioed the ad with a warning that the ad contained violated its rules for abusive behavior.
Big tech’s reaction, as well as the pushback from established Republicans, has only served to draw more attention to the ad. Far more than if it had just run its regular course. It has now become national news. It has also drawn attention to Greitens’ military service as a Navy seal.
Greitens and his campaign have dismissed the criticism that he is receiving from both sides of the aisle saying that every normal person in his state understood that the RINO he was hunting was a metaphor.
Greitens has not retracted the ad. His campaign offers RINO hunting permits for $25 as a fundraising ploy. The campaign has not released any details on money raised because of the ad.
Moving forward the censored ad will not be the biggest problem for Greitens’ campaign. He has had difficulty separating himself from having to resign as governor in 2018 as the result of a sexual misconduct and blackmail scandal involving a hairdresser. It is unclear if Missouri voters are ready to embrace him again.