A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Picking a Big Game Fight


Back in September, we analyzed an ad from the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife that attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for "aerial hunting" of wolves. Though its facts were essentially correct, we pointed out that the Alaskan government called the hunting "predator control" and said its purpose was to keep the populations of moose and caribou high enough to sustain subsistence hunting.  A few weeks ago, we noted that the Defenders had brought back a similar ad.

Now, a new group has jumped into the fray with an ad that has aired in Alaska. The cleverly named Defenders of Wild Food are defending Gov. Palin against the Defenders of Wildlife.

In the ad, a Native American man talks about wolves killing wildlife that his family relies upon for food. (The ending is quite reminiscent of another famous campaign from the 1970s.) As we pointed out in our original story, it’s difficult to gauge how many Alaskans rely on subsistence hunting. An Alaska Department of Fish and Game official told us in September that somewhere between 79 percent and 92 percent of Alaska’s rural population (about 135,000 people, or 20 percent of the state’s residents) rely on wildlife for food to some extent.

The Defenders of Wild Food has no contact information on its Web site, which was registered anonymously a few weeks ago, and it has yet to file paperwork with any of the regulatory bodies that we checked. However, if the TV ad proves to be as successful a fundraising tool as the ad was from Defenders of Wildlife (those "people from far away"), it’s unlikely to be the last we’ll hear from them.

A tip of the hat to CMAG’s "The Spot" for flagging this ad.