A Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota produced an ad depicting idyllic scenes from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
But there’s one problem – much of the footage has no connection to Minnesota. Instead, it appears to have been downloaded from stock footage sites in Europe, Russia, and Asia, according to a report in The Heartland Signal.
Dr. Scott Jensen, a GOP gubernatorial frontrunner, released a digital ad stitching together shots from across Minnesota.— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) December 15, 2021
"Minnesota is a marvel," he says.
The problem: the ad contains stock footage from Ukraine, Russia, and the U.K.https://t.co/Vv0ohusxiS
Dr. Scott Jensen – who, in the words of The Star Tribune, is running on a “platform of questioning the effectiveness of vaccines, social distancing and mask mandates in battling COVID-19,” – narrates the deceptively edited ad (watch above). “Minnesota is a marvel,” he says. “Its natural beauty and rich history are like none other in the world.” But The Heartland Signal reports:
…the hockey-playing kids and sober-faced farmers [in the ad] aren’t Minnesotans, or even Americans. Much of Jensen’s stock footage comes from countries including Russia, Ukraine, Thailand and the U.K. Jensen’s video opens with someone dipping their finger in a lake, ostensibly, at Itasca State Park. Only it’s a stock video uploaded to Shutterstock by the Spain-based account BublikHaus and downloadable by anyone for $65-$179.
The outlet continues:
Jensen talks about “our farmers,” showing a combine harvesting a field designated as Willmar, MN. The clip came the Ukraine-based account “mpohodzhay,” who is affiliated with the ufly.pro website. The UFly production Facebook page, which is linked from the Shutterstock account, confirmed in messages the clip Jensen’s ad used was shot in 2019 near Lviv, Ukraine.
Other mislabeled shots include footage of Russian boys playing hockey, a Thai mother tutoring her son, and a British nurse assisting a man in a wheelchair.
“It’s embarrassing that Scott Jensen can’t tell the difference between Rochester and Russia, but I’m not surprised,” Ken Martin, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Chairman, said in a statement to The Heartland Signal.
Jensen, a former state senator, is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Gov. Tim Walz.
Get a load of Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen (R) talking about ivermectin over the weekend pic.twitter.com/M2YJlI4He2— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 27, 2021
Jensen was banned from the social media platform TikTok for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 in June. During the pandemic, he’s been a regular on Fox News, where he offers contrarian opinions on mainstream science.
The Star Tribune compares him to Donald Trump:
While less bombastic and quieter in style than the former president, Jensen’s messaging around COVID-19 has drawn support from the Trump faithful. His success in the nomination process will be a test of whether Minnesota Republicans plan to chart a new path or embrace Trump-era politics as part of their electoral strategy in the 2022 midterm election.
“Scott Jensen is definitely appealing to those voters who have developed a distrust of institutions,” said David Sturrock, a former state Republican Party official and a political science professor at Southwest Minnesota State University. “Donald Trump ran that way, though with a very different tone and style.”