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Media Debates Anonymous Donors, Ignores Deceptive Ads

Media Debates Anonymous Donors, Ignores Deceptive Ads

As the 2010 midterm election cycle draws to a close, there is a welcome and increasing amount of attention being paid to the exorbitant corporate resources tasked to sway this year’s contests.  As feared, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and the Congress’ inability to pass the Disclose Act, have led to an avalanche of anonymously donated money meant to influence your vote.  $200 million in outside money is expected.  According to The Sunlight Foundation, ”That’s an 80 percent increase from 2006, the last mid-term election.”

Much of the media discussion over the controversy has revolved around process and legality — Should the, technically, candidate-unaffiliated 501(c)(4) groups disclose their donors? Or, are the Democrats wise to make it an issue during the campaign?  Personally, the answers to both of the above are a resounding YES!

Think Progress’ expose’ on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce taking $885,000 in foreign donations into their domestic 501(c)(6) account was thorough, damning, and worthy of further investigation.  On the second point, recent polling indicates that the Democrats are benefiting from raising awareness on the influx of anonymous corporate cash.  The issue has also helped Dem fundraising, though nothing remotely close to the amounts wielded by their Republican opponents.

While these points are important and will be debated well after Nov. 2 has come and gone, there is a related matter of supreme and immediate importance that is going largely unnoticed: The content of the ads range from deceptive to objectively false.

Greg Sargent, author of The Plum Line blog at The Washington Post, has been on this for weeks.  His Oct. 13 post imparts an incomplete listing of Chamber and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads ads targeting Senate Democrats containing distortions and outright lies, some of which were pulled when the deception was revealed.

From Sargent’s Oct. 18 follow up:

Turns out the same is true of the Chamber’s ads against House Democrats. These Chamber ads, which are running or have run in multiple districts across the country, contain many claims that are demonstrable distortions or have been repeatedly debunked as false by independent fact-checkers.

This is the side of this story that continues to unfold under the media radar. Much of the media focus has been on the high-profile Beltway spat between these groups and the White House and Dems over their undisclosed donors. But the ads themselves are not receiving anywhere near the high-profile media scrutiny that Dem claims about the Chamber have — even though they constitute a massive national campaign flooding airwaves in multiple races that could tip the balance of power in Congress.

Read The Plum Line posts for the details.  And there’s this from Political Correction, which gives you an idea what is being lied about and how often:

…Out of 22,000 ads, the Crossroads groups have gone after clean energy legislation in 1,264 (just 6 percent of the total). By contrast, nearly half (10,351) of the ads attack the Affordable Care Act. Of the 10,000 health care ads, 84 percent include the long-disproven claims about “Medicare cuts” and a government “takeover” of the health care industry. That’s 8,697 ads that lie about health care since August began.

Think about it, if you live in one of the targeted districts, you’re being lied to repeatedly for the purpose of either, influencing your vote, or to dissuade you from voting, by people or groups that can’t even vote for one of the candidates — probably the same groups, organizations, or companies that stand to benefit financially if they’re successful — and you are not allowed to know who’s lying to you.  Are you okay with that?

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49 comments

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1:21PM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

GEES! You're all sooo young. You don't know how legislation is passed in Congress. The Democrats try endlessly to pass various legislation but are blocked by the votes of the Republicans. You can only do so much when you don't have the majority support. As far as campaign contributions undisclosed or not, the Republicans surely know who their benefactors and supporters are as they will surely have to pass legislation that their benefactors expect them to pass as they are indebted to them. It is you and me, the public that doesn't get to know where the 'money' came from to launch the huge campaigns. Deep Throat said 'Follow the Money.' That holds true in nearly all cases, notwithstanding a small amendment though -- Should be -- Follow the Big Money -- in these cases. Pity Obama. You can only do so much without the votes / the support of the House of Congress. In the case of legislation, all have one vote only -- even Obama. Wake Up! Learn how your government is run and quit listening to rhetoric that is nothing less than brainwashing and propaganda.

1:19PM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

GEES! You're all sooo young. You don't know how legislation is passed in Congress. The Democrats try endlessly to pass various legislation but are blocked by the votes of the Republicans. You can only do so much when you don't have the majority support. As far as campaign contributions undisclosed or not, the Republicans surely know who their benefactors and supporters are as they will surely have to pass legislation that their benefactors expect them to pass as they are indebted to them. It is you and me, the public that doesn't get to know where the 'money' came from to launch the huge campaigns. Deep Throat said 'Follow the Money.' That holds true in nearly all cases, notwithstanding a small amendment though -- Should be -- Follow the Big Money -- in these cases. Pity Obama. You can only do so much without the votes / the support of the House of Congress. In the case of legislation, all have one vote only -- even Obama. Wake Up! Learn how your government is run and quit listening to rhetoric that is nothing less than brainwashing and propaganda.

9:33PM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

I'd like to see a 2010 political census of who' s telling the truth.
Namely Both Republicans and Democratic and lets throw in the Supreme Court members take lie detector test . One question only "Have you ever or will you ever comprise your decision on issues based on personnel monetary gain.
Unfortunately like Sodom and Gomorrah I doubt if there is "One" untainted person in WASHINGTON DC Cesspool pool of political self made hero's.

6:44PM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

Both parties are equally corrupt and are equally to blame I dont how some of you cant see that I really dont. Both partys are corrupted by power and Money the root of all evil.

6:53AM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

The press always saves something for a 'rainy day,' when news is scarce.

8:37AM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

HA! You guys are smoking crack if you don't think the Dems are just as bad as the republicans! That's why no one does anything, because they all know they're guilty.

9:13PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

There is a big gulf between the two parties. The Dems are not as egregious as the Republicans, who really come across as bullying and greedy and relentless and all too willing to take money from very wealthy undisclosed donors. By the same token the Dems should learn to blow their own horn about all their accomplishments.

6:45PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Wow, OK that certainly makes a lot of sense.

www.anonymize.it.tc

5:03PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

I have yet to see ONE ad in my state where any candidate talks about the issues and their solutions. They are all a bunch of nut jobs in my book!

4:53PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

I ignore politician's ads that only tear up opponents and don't state what they are going to do. I let my answering machine pick up all calls from two weeks before election day because most are political recordings. I think it's very unfair that candidates that don't belong to the two major parties aren't covered by the media or invited to debates. ALL candidates should have equal air time and the media shouldn't be biased to influence how voters should vote. There could be a great candidate running, but who will never be elected because of not belonging to either Rep or Dem parties. And the majority of voters who belong to one of those parties just vote along party lines without considering if someone else might be better. It's the Media that has the power.

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