In early November, Yahoo News released its latest ad campaign, "See All Sides." The advertisements feature overlapping red and blue images accompanied by phrases depicting seemingly opposing political ideologies.
For example, one advertisement shows two segments of border fencing intersecting at a perpendicular angle. "Immigrants Enrich Us" is written on the blue fence, while "Immigrants Endanger Us" is written on the red fence.
Another pits "Healthcare is a Right" against "Healthcare is a Privilege."
According to a spokesperson for Yahoo: "These ads are meant to reflect the current state of our country, and the polarizing conversations taking place on a number of issues. Yahoo News has a long history as a non-partisan news organization, with a mission to present divergent perspectives."
While progressives on social media were unhappy with Yahoo for placing allegedly bigoted positions next to "the truth," what I took away from this advertising campaign was something quite different.
Three of the four advertisements take nuanced conservative beliefs and fashion them into straw men. The most egregious example of this can be seen in the immigration ad.
Conservatives don’t believe "immigrants endanger us." The thinking in most conservative circles is that illegal immigration poses a potential economic and physical threat to U.S. citizens, and that a porous border allows drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other criminals to enter the United States without notice. A weak border is also viewed by many conservatives as a possible threat to national security.
Undergirding this "conservative" viewpoint is research and critical thought; motivating it is a desire to protect the United States and its people from economic and physical harm that could come about as a result of illegal immigration.
Implying that conservative Americans simply believe that "immigrants endanger us" is grossly reductive, and it perpetuates the already well-worn idea that if someone doesn’t support progressive policies on immigration, they are bigoted, racist, or xenophobic.
Despite claiming to be a "non-partisan news organization" that wants to display "all sides" of the divided political conversation, Yahoo is sending a very partisan message with its latest campaign.