A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Down-to-the-Wire Deceptions

Attack ads, and the misinformation that comes with them, continue to swamp the airwaves. In fact, spending on ads in these midterm elections could top $3 billion, said Evan Tracey, whose Kantar Media-owned Campaign Media Analysis Group tracks political ads running nationwide. That cracks the $2.7 billion spent in 2008 – when a presidential race as well as the usual congressional ones were eating up airtime.
A brief rundown of some misleading assaults we’ve found in the last few days:
DSCC Hits Murkowski
Among other things,

NRCC Overstates Dems’ Voting Record with Pelosi

A number of new TV ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee purport to tell us how often a Democratic incumbent voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the ads overstate …

Bachmann Decries Rumors, Then Spreads Them

At Friday’s conservative Values Voter Summit, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke out against "falsehoods and rumors" about the tea party movement. We applaud any call to combat misinformation — but Bachmann would do well to guard against falsehoods and rumors herself. In the same speech, she complained about "Speaker Pelosi, who has been busy sticking the taxpayer for a $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she is flying." That’s a totally off-base assertion that we addressed back in March.

Fish Stories

Even when a fisherman catches a big one, the fish tends to grow each time the story is told. Politicians are like that, too, especially when Election Day approaches. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gave us recent examples of that kind of hyperbole. Pelosi improved on reality, when she claimed Bush created fewer jobs in eight years than Democrats have done in eight months. And Obama exaggerated the GOP’s stalling tactics,

Critz, Burns Swap False Charges

In the final days of the May 18 special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns have escalated their attacks on each other in TV ads chock full of false and misleading claims. Critz wrongly accuses Burns of wanting to “privatize Medicare and Social Security.” But …

A Bogus Ad on Breast Cancer, Rove Vs. Brokaw, and Pelosi’s Promise

In Episode 3, we explore the false claims in an ad about breast cancer and health care legislation, look into a testy exchange between Republican strategist Karl Rove and “Meet the Press” host Tom Brokaw, and add context to an RNC ad that criticizes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the ethics of members of her party.

RNC: The Dems’ Ethical Embarrassments

A new ad buy from the Republican National Committee departs from the subject of health care, focusing instead on another theme the GOP wants to emphasize as the midterm elections approach: the Democrats’ recent ethics travails.

The ad, pointedly called "Pelosi’s Failure," begins with a clip of Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California promising "the most open and most ethical Congress in history." Pelosi said that on the Tuesday night in November 2006 when Democrats gained control of the House and she was poised to become speaker.

Health Care Claims, and a Party Plane?

This week, we examine health care claims from the president, a conservative group and a Republican candidate in the race for a Senate seat in Nevada. Plus, we give listeners the scoop on allegations that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hosts congressional party planes.
 

Pelosi’s Party Plane?

Q: Has Nancy Pelosi spent $100,000 on food, booze and "partying" during her air travel?
A: No. Pelosi’s congressional delegations do eat well and drink pricey alcohol. But the costs are not as high as critics claim, and they’re comparable to those of her Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert.

Extras: Gore, Dogs, Health Insurance and Bunkmail

Our pre-Thanksgiving round-up of bits and pieces of political bunk includes Al Gore, a fancy new dog park and chain e-mails that refuse to die.

Gore’s too hot
Al Gore overstated a key fact about geothermal energy during a recent appearance on "The Tonight Show":

Gore, Nov. 13: Two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, because the interior of the earth is extremely hot — several million degrees.