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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Upstate Insults Continue…

Two days ago on our main site, we analyzed several ads in the special election to replace now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York’s 20th congressional district. But it looks like we missed some. Our Country Deserves Better PAC (a group we’ve chided in the past for an ad echoing claims found in false chain e-mails) has released a pair of TV spots in the district, attacking Democratic candidate Scott Murphy.

One ad says that Murphy has a "shameful record of attacking our military men and women":

The ad also says that Murphy "smeared our military in an editorial he co-wrote" and "fought to keep the military’s ROTC program off campus." Well, Murphy did advocate to keep the ROTC program off Harvard’s campus in an editorial when he was a student there in 1989. Whether he "smeared" the military then is a judgment call we won’t address. But we will say that a strongly worded editorial penned 20 years in college is flimsy evidence for a "shameful record of attacking our military." We called Our Country Deserves Better PAC to ask whether the group had any other support for its claim; no one has returned our calls.

Another ad says that "Murphy’s company failed to pay taxes after three liens were placed against it."

That’s misleading. As we pointed out in our story, Murphy sold his company before the liens were issued, and the acquiring corporation was responsible for the debts. In fact, the new owners paid the vast majority of the taxes and penalties. You can read more detail in our original report here.