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Electric Chair Ad for Museum Generates Criticism

June 01, 1997|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A museum advertisement featuring an electric chair is drawing complaints from death penalty opponents who say it trivializes capital punishment.

The ad is for an exhibit on tabloid journalism at the Freedom Forum's Newseum, a $50-million news media museum that opened in April in Arlington, Va. The caption for the ad states, in bold letters: "Think a Museum About News Is A Bore? You're In For A Big Shock."

Critics said the ad shows poor judgment. "Using something like the electric chair is an ad for voyeurism," said Steven Hawkins, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Museum officials defended the use of the ad, saying it publicizes an exhibit that focuses on media sensationalism and the excesses of tabloid journalism.

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