A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Executive Payola

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has unleashed a radio ad campaign targeting five Republican members of Congress. The ads claim that the Republicans "voted to allow the big banks to pay high-rolling executives unchecked compensation and bonuses." But that’s not quite right.

The ads are not based on any explicit vote for "unchecked compensation and bonuses." Rather, the Democrats are referring to Republican votes against H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,

A Short Piece on Obama’s Peace Speech

Yesterday President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, and made some remarks that could use a bit of context and explanation.
Obama said that "billions have been lifted from poverty." Though he didn’t provide a time frame, he was discussing the effects of the United Nations and the Marshall Plan, both of which began in the late 1940s. We haven’t been able to find any reliable statistics that go back that far,

Extras: Allentown, Palin, E-mails

This round-up of political tidbits includes an ad pegged to the president’s visit to Allentown, Sarah Palin on Obama’s birth certificate and more chain e-mails.
Working Where in Allentown?
When President Barack Obama traveled to Allentown, Pa., Friday morning to discuss job creation, the Republican National Committee welcomed him with a radio spot questioning the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Unfortunately, by Friday the ad was a day late and a few hundred thousand jobs short.

Extras: Palin, Rubio, Apps and Chain E-mails

From time to time we come across bits of political malarkey or other items that don’t quite rate a full article. Starting today, we’ll collect these tidbits in a new, occasional feature we call "Extras."

Palin: "Who makes a decision like that?"
In a Nov. 6 appearance at a no-cameras-allowed fundraiser, Sarah Palin criticized moving the words "In God We Trust" onto the edges of some new $1 coins: "Who calls a shot like that?

Using H1N1 to Sway Health Care Debate

The American Future Fund, a conservative advocacy group, has released a new ad that uses the H1N1 vaccine as the crux of its argument against health care overhaul legislation.
The ad asks: "If the government can’t run a flu program, can we trust it to run America’s entire health care system?" But the question assumes a false premise. The health care proposals that are nearing full chamber votes are not empowering the government to run an entire health care system,

The Obama Phone?

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?
A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.

Heather Graham Teaches Us About Polls

The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org Political Action has released another health care ad featuring a Hollywood celebrity. Last time it was Will Ferrell talking of pygmy horses and executive compensation. This time it’s actress Heather Graham dressing up as a track and field runner (labeled "public option") and challenging health insurance executives to a race.  
As part of its argument, the ad says that "over 70 percent of Americans want the public option." We’ve previously caught both liberal and conservative groups misleading the public with polling numbers during this ongoing health care debate,

Striking Out on Antitrust

The liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change features the national pastime in a new ad that attacks the insurance industry and calls for competition in the field.

The ad says that "baseball and insurance are the only industries exempt from antitrust law." But that claim is about as accurate as Randy Johnson’s fastball to John Kruk in the 1993 All-Star game. Antitrust exemptions have been granted to quite a few different industries and groups through legislation and judicial review.

1,120 Days – and Counting – Till Election 2012!

In what could be an early preview of the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney – a once and perhaps future Republican presidential hopeful – has released a new video on his political action committee’s Web site attacking President Barack Obama on climate change legislation.

Romney says that any cap-and-trade proposal "wouldn’t do a thing" because it would simply move "greenhouse gas emitters from America, to other nations like China and India that don’t participate in our program."

Going Out of Business?

A new health care ad from a conservative group claims that “Medicare will be bankrupt in eight years.” That gives a false impression. The program does have huge financial problems, but there’s no reason to think it’s going out of business as the word “bankrupt” implies. And …