McCain “less than honest” in campaign ad

An ad by Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has been called "less than honest" by FactCheck.org

An ad by Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has been called"less than honest" by FactCheck.org

Tonight, FactCheck.org is calling an ad by the McCain-Palin campaign a “distortion..less than honest.”

Last week, I wrote that I was bewildered by false and/or misleading claims some speakers and candidates made at the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

I suggested you check a web site called FactCheck.org. Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

FactCheck’s goal is to reduce deception and confusion in U.S. politics by monitoring the accuracy of statements major U.S. political players in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases.

FactCheck.org has taken both political parties to task this campaign season.

Now, for the first time, FactCheck.org is chastising John McCain’s campaign for an ad that claims FactCheck.org called Barack Obama’s attacks on Palin “absolutely false” and “misleading.”

In a statement tonight, FactCheck.org said:

“That’s what we said, but it wasn’t about Obama. Our article criticized anonymous e-mail falsehoods and bogus claims about Palin posted around the Internet. We have no evidence that any of the claims we found to be false came from the Obama campaign. “

FactCheck.org added: “With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said “completely false” attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.”

Enough! America needs straight talk from both campaigns on issues that impact us all.  A recent Gallup poll found a majority of Americans say they are worse off financially than a year ago.

Members of Congress from both parties are failing badly in the eyes of American voters. Eighty-six percent of those polled by Gallup disapprove of the job Congress is doing.  President George W. Bush’s job approval rating isn’t much better at 33 percent.

Why has John McCain, the so-called “straight-talk candidate,” dumped a false and misleading ad on American voters?

Perhaps the McCain campaign believes it will vault him ahead of Obama in the polls. The McCain campaign may believe it will help propel Senator McCain to a win in November’s presidential election.

It might!  But it doesn’t serve the interests of our country. False and misleading political ads erode trust.  They destroy confidence. They drive people apart, not together. It won’t help McCain lead this nation if he wins the presidency.

FactCheck.org added this to it’s statement about the McCain campaign ad:

“The ad also quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying that the Obama campaign “air-dropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers to dig dirt on Governor Palin.” That’s also a distortion. The Wall Street Journal opinion article did not say that the Obama team was there to “dig dirt.” It said they were there do “dig into her record and background.” Maybe the McCain-Palin campaign knows something we don’t about what’s in Palin’s record and background.”

That’s not all.

FactCheck.org says another McCain-Palin campaign ad claims Obama’s “one accomplishment” in the area of education was “legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergarteners.”

But the claim is simply false, wrote FactCheck.org:

“The ad claims “Obama’s one accomplishment” in the realm of education was “legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergarteners.” Obama, contrary to the ad’s insinuation, does not support explicit sex education for kindergarteners. And the bill, which would have allowed only “age appropriate” material and a no-questions-asked opt-out policy for parents, was not his accomplishment to claim in any case, since he was not even a cosponsor – and the bill never left the state Senate,” said FactCheck.org on its web site.

At a time when so many U.S. families are struggling with jobs, health care and opportunity, the Republican and Democratic campaigns should be talking about the important issues that affect Americans.

This week, the McCain campaign is talking more trash, less issues. By distorting FactCheck.org’s words, the McCain campaign sends a message; It values political expediency over truthfulness with U.S. voters.

I find that bothersome. Don’t you?

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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