A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bailouts, Taxes and Deceptive Editing

In episode 28 of our podcast, we look at misleading ads from freshman House Democrats who claim they voted against the bank bailout bill, which passed before they took office. Also, we debunk a chain e-mail about taxes, and we highlight a perfect example of how deceptive editing is used in political advertising.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Democratic Bailout Baloney  Sept. 3
More Bailout Baloney  Sept. 8
Attack on Giffords Comes Up Short 

More Bailout Baloney

Four more freshman House Democrats are claiming in ads to have opposed the Wall Street bailout.
We wrote last week about five ads being run by first-term Democrats claiming they voted against the bailout, which created the unpopular Troubled Asset Relief Program. But Congress approved the bailout program before these lawmakers were even elected, much less sworn in.
It appears the misleading claim is contagious: Now Betsy Markey of Colorado and Mark Schauer of Michigan all have new ads that contain that assertion.

Oil Spill Whoppers

The April 20 explosion that started oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico has prompted a slew of claims and counterclaims about the disaster. What caused it, how it’s being handled, the history of drilling accidents in the area – all are subjects ripe for false or misleading statements by politicians and others. …

‘Bailout’ Baloney

This campaign season, “bailout” is a dirty — and often misused — word. It’s no longer being used just in reference to Wall Street banks and the rescue of the financial industry. Candidates, corporations and special interest groups increasingly use “bailout” even when no government financial assistance is being proposed. …

General Motors’ Debt

Q: Did General Motors repay its TARP loan from the Treasury with other TARP money?
A: Yes. GM repaid the loan portion of the automaker bailout ahead of schedule, with interest. It used TARP money it had already received but hadn’t spent. And taxpayers are still stuck with GM stock that isn’t worth what was paid for it.

More Regulatory Rhetoric

A new attack ad targeting three Democratic senators and one Republican criticizes "hidden taxes on … pensions and retirement accounts" in the financial regulation legislation being considered by Congress, and urges the senators to "vote against this phony financial reform."
The ad gives a false impression. The Senate bill doesn’t contain the tax mentioned in the ad.

The ad is the work of a less-than-transparent group calling itself "Stop Too Big To Fail," which says its $1.6 million ad buy is targeting senators in Nevada,

The Bailout Bill?

Does the financial regulatory bill put an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts? Or does it "institutionalize" them? Viewers of the Sunday political talk shows and recent C-SPAN clips from the Senate floor might well be wondering, as Democrats (the "end of bailouts" crowd) and some Republicans (the "institutionalize" camp) have made these contradictory claims.
No piece of legislation can guarantee that a future Congress won’t allow the federal government to prop up a failing financial institution. But claims that this bill makes taxpayer-funded bailouts a permanent fixture are misleading,

Tussling Over TARP

A recent TV ad from Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter claims that Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln "says she voted against bailing out Wall Street." That’s not what Lincoln said. The two are campaigning in the Democratic primary for the Senate.
Halter’s ad refers to a Lincoln campaign ad from March in which she said she has voted against "giving more money to Wall Street."
Lincoln never denied voting in favor of the 2008 Troubled Assets Relief Program,

The Big Bank Bailout Bill?

A third-party group, the Committee for Truth in Politics, is out with an ad blasting the House’s "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act." The group, which has no Web site and has made no disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, was created by a North Carolina GOP operative, according to National Public Radio, and is represented by lawyer James Bopp, who sued the FEC on the grounds that the group shouldn’t have to file any kind of spending report to that agency.

AIG Bailout

Q: Did Congress bail out AIG because it insures members’ pensions?
A: This widely e-mailed claim is a hoax. It actually was the Federal Reserve that bailed out AIG, not Congress. And federal pensions aren’t insured by AIG or any other company.