In an effort to quell the riots erupting throughout the Middle East, the U.S. State Department began airing a 30-second ad in Pakistan Thursday in which President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemn the low-budget, anti-Islamic film that incited the violent protests.
“I hope it’s obvious that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” Clinton said of the shoddily shot film titled “Innocence of Muslims.” “We absolutely reject its content and message.”
An Urdu translation accompanied the President’s declaration that the U.S. rejects “all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” adding, “but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.”
In order to effectively reach the largest number of Pakistanis possible, the U.S. spent $70,000 to run the ads.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland explained, “In the case of Pakistan, it is common and traditional to have to buy airtime on Pakistani TV for public service announcements. So in that environment, it was their recommendation that we buy some airtime to make sure that the Pakistani people would heard the President’s messages and the Secretary’s messages.”
Another ad of normal Americans denouncing the film is also airing.
In spite of these efforts, as the commercials aired, at least 19 people died and 160 were injured Friday in violent protests about the film.
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