Anti-Ahmadinejad media campaign hits streets of New York
Call it a September tradition: the president of Iran visits the Big Apple, and angry protesters scorn his arrival.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be the most hated guest at the Hilton, but the world leader most vilified by Americans is also the most visible face in Manhattan – courtesy of the "United Against Nuclear Iran" organization.
“A number of people don't understand the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran,” says Kimmy Lipscomb from United Against Nuclear Iran. “And the purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of those specifics. And we can only encourage people to take action against him.”
New Yorkers are surrounded by endless images of him, sprinkled along Second Avenue, posted along Third, pasted on phone booths.
Ahmadinejad has become part of the media Mecca here in the United States. His face is being featured in more than 200 ads posted throughout the city.
"He’s sort of like the enemy, but not the enemy. Yet we're honoring him, by plastering his face everywhere," says Gilbert Castello, critic of President Ahmadinejad.
An ad blitz highlighting the worse accusations against Iran’s leader has some questioning the messenger more than the message.
“This is the kind of dumbing-down of the collective consciousness in this country that keeps getting us in trouble,” says New York resident Jessica Habie. “We need to be educated about what the issues are. And the only way we're going to solve this issue with Iran is if we look at the entire Middle-East and de-militarizing the whole zone.”
"I think it misinforms most people about him. I don't think anybody knows that much. Only what the government tells us," another local resident says.
And another issue is the cost of the anti-Ahmadinejad campaign.
"We don't disclose our numbers for obvious purposes,” Kimmy Lipscomb says.
Ad sales experts tell RT that United Against Nuclear Iran spent an estimated US$300,000.
“I think the money would be better off spent on homeless people,” says Patrick Keegan, an Irish-American New Yorker.
The homeless people – 40,000 of them – remain out in the dark of New York City, while the limelight shines solely on one man.