A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

62%: Conventional Wisdom or “Dubious Research”?

The liberal group Health Care for America Now has come out with another ad attacking the health insurance industry. The ad is running as part of a million dollar ad buy, according to the group. It repeats a claim that is being made repeatedly as the debate over overhauling the health care system heats up.

The ad says "62 percent of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debt," and the group’s backup points to a study conducted by Harvard researchers,

Will Ferrell, Pygmy Horses and Health Insurance

MoveOn.org Political Action’s latest video is a satirical send-up of a public service announcement titled "Protect Insurance Companies." It features a collection of actors – including "Saturday Night Live" alum (and Dodge Stratus driver) Will Ferrell, "Mad Men"’s Jon Hamm and "The State"’s Thomas Lennon – who defend, among other things, the right of insurance CEOs to pursue an American dream that includes a "mini-zoo in your backyard for exotic animals like a white tiger and pygmy horses."

Hitting Grassley With Inflated Numbers

Two liberal groups, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are airing an ad that faults Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley for not supporting a "public option" as part of any proposed health care legislation. But their ad uses inflated figures.

Grassley has spoken out against including a "public option" as part of a health care bill. The ad implies that he’s done so because he’s "taken over $2 million dollars from the big health and insurance industries that oppose reform."

Republican Infighting on Health Insurance

Never shy about training its sights on fellow Republicans, the Club for Growth is going after Utah GOP Sen. Robert Bennett with a new television ad and letter-writing campaign targeting his support for a Senate health care bill.

It’s not a Senate bill that has cleared any committee, such as the one passed in July by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the HELP bill is the one that, at least for now, is generally referred to as "the Senate bill"

Palin vs. Obama: Death Panels

Like many disagreements in the digital age, it all started with a post on Facebook. Last Friday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted a note to her Facebook page and introduced a new term to the health care debate:

Palin, Aug. 7: The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,”

Recycled Health Care Ad

A coalition of liberal and union groups called Health Care for America Now has announced the release of two television ads and several print ads thanking Democratic senators and members of Congress for supporting President Obama’s health care plan. The two television ads laud Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and will run in each senator’s home state for five days, according to a press release from the group. Here’s the one congratulating Reid:

If the ad looks familiar,

Off Target in Sotomayor Ad

Yesterday we wrote about a radio ad attacking Florida Republican Reps. Adam Putnam and John Mica for not denouncing radio personality Rush Limbaugh for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a "racist" and a "bigot." We found that the ad was accurate in capturing the words of Limbaugh and in its description of the historical significance of Sotomayor’s nomination. We left it to readers to determine how responsible the congressmen were for Limbaugh’s words.
After the story was published,

New Round of Sotomayor Ads Begins

Independent groups are taking to the airwaves to weigh in on the debate over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whose confirmation hearings began July 13 in the Senate. The liberal Change Campaign Committee and Hispanic group Presente.org are airing a Spanish-language radio ad in Florida. The groups also posted the ad, with a translation and some video, on YouTube:

Two versions of the ad take Republican Reps. John Mica and Adam Putnam to task for not denouncing the words of radio host Rush Limbaugh,

FactCheck.org Cited in Ad

From time to time, we find that our work is cited by politicians or political groups. Last week, the League of Conservation Voters ran an ad in Virginia referencing our articles on the cap-and-trade energy bill:

The LCV ad says that Republicans are attacking Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia for "supporting a new clean energy jobs plan," but that we said the "Republican ad was wrong" and figures used by Republican Whip Eric Cantor were a "misrepresentation."

Ads Energetically Thank Democrats

Recently, we have seen several ads from liberal advocacy groups thanking various Democratic representatives for voting in favor of the Waxman-Markey energy bill. Some, like those from the group Americans United for Change, benignly mix images of nature with kind words of thanks. Others pour on the superlatives, but could use some further explanation.
For instance, an ad from VoteVets says that because the bill was passed, "now America is poised to import less oil, 300,000 barrels less every day."