Thursday, October 14, 2010
Image via WikipediaAnalysis: Little Truth In Many Groups' Campaign Ads : NPR
Ads from "super PACs" and other political groups targeting the 2010 midterm election are overwhelmingly spreading exaggerations and falsehoods, according to a fact-checking analysis by PolitiFact.
Of 31 claims in TV ads that PolitiFact has checked from groups such as American Crossroads and the Patriot Majority PAC, the vast majority have earned a Half True or lower rating on our Truth-O-Meter.
Forty-two percent earned a Half True, 23 percent Barely True and 13 percent were found to be False or Pants on Fire, the rating reserved for the most ridiculous falsehoods. Only five of the 31 claims from the groups were rated Mostly True.
Just two earned True ratings.
The poor record for accuracy holds when you include ratings for 20 additional ads from party groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Republican Governors Association. Of the claims we've checked from all groups, including those party organizations, 80 percent earned a Half True or lower.
Dozens of groups have sprung up in the past few months and spent tens of millions of dollars to influence elections for governor and key House and Senate seats. Many of the groups are funded by corporations after two recent Supreme Court decisions opened the door to more corporate spending. Other groups are operating under existing laws as tax-exempt organizations that can keep their donors secret.
Spending by the outside groups has favored Republican candidates by a large margin. A report from the Wesleyan Media Project found that in the past five weeks, Republican-leaning organizations outspent Democratic-leaning groups by a margin of almost 9 to 1.
Two of the best-known groups are American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which are affiliated with Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. The Crossroads record for accuracy is typical of the groups PolitiFact has rated. American Crossroads has received a Half True, a Barely True and a False, while two ads from Crossroads GPS both earned Barely True ratings.
Overall, PolitiFact's analysis found that ads by groups usually have a kernel of truth but twist or exaggerate the facts.