PolitiFact has done an analysis of more than a dozen ads put out in various campaigns by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ third-party organization that spends tens of millions of dollars to influence elections all over the country. Surprise, surprise, they conclude that those ads are highly dishonest.
For example: Back in 2010, Americans for Prosperity ran an anti-Obamacare ad in 18 congressional districts on the health care law that claimed women wouldn’t be able to get cancer screenings under the health care law. In the ad, a cancer survivor claimed, “A government panel that didn’t include cancer specialists says women shouldn’t receive mammograms until age 50,” and “If government takes over health care, recommendations like these could become the law for all kinds of diseases.”
This was easily debunked and earned a Pants on Fire. As we wrote at the time: “The task force did not say women shouldn’t receive mammograms until age 50. The task force did include experts on cancer screening. It did not factor in cost. The recommendations are not the new government guidelines (in fact, the government guidelines remained the same). In short, this is a bogus issue.”…This trend — taking a claim that has some truth and pushing it one step too far — is also something we’ve seen in their ads targeting Senate candidates.
Of the thirteen commercials they looked at, only two managed to rise to the level of “half-truth.” The rest were all mostly false, false of “pants on fire” lies. This is not limited just to this organization, of course. Lots and lots of third-party groups do this kind of thing in what are called “issues ads.” The FEC makes an absolutely absurd distinction between a “campaign ad” (the ones that end with “I’m so and so and I approved this message”) and an “issue ad” (the kind that usually ends with “call so and so and tell them you don’t like this”).
We all know this is a fake distinction. When you see those issues ads, there isn’t a single person that doesn’t get that their sole purpose is to get you to vote for one candidate and against the other. “Sen. Balderdash likes to kick old ladies and drown kittens in acid. Call Sen. Balderdash and tell him that you don’t want him to kick old ladies and drown kittens in acid. Paid for by the Committee for Kindly Grandmothers and Cute Kittens.”