The State Department confirmed that the U.S. government
spent about $70,000 of ad time on TV in Pakistan to air a public service
announcement from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
disassociating the government from the Innocence
of Muslims movie trailer on YouTube that prompted Middle East
The administration has also said evidence still points to
the video as being the prompt for the attack in Libya that killed the U.S.
ambassador and three others.
State Department deputy spokesperson Victoria Nuland told
reporters in a press conference Thursday that it was the public diplomacy team
in the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan that recommended buying the ad time for the
PSA, a 30-second spot that combines both the president and Clinton.
State said the PSAs were in response to questions from
"lots of bodies politic" about whether the video represented the
views of the U.S. government."
The PSAs drew from existing video of public statements about
the video and were subtitled in Urdu.
The president's PSA was a general statement about religious
tolerance: "Since our founding, the United States has been a nation of respect--
that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious
beliefs of others."
Secretary Clinton's was her condemnation of the video: "Let
me state very clearly that the United States has absolutely nothing to do with
this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America's commitment to
religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."
The spokesperson pointed out that the government does this
regularly all over the world, taking from speeches and encouraging local media
to use them, though in this case the encouragement was financial. "The
sense was that this particular aspect of the president and the secretary's
message needed to be heard by more Pakistanis than had heard it, and that this
was an effective way to get that message out."