Monday, May 24, 2004
The rest of the story: The New York Times is at it again. The first four paragraphs of its story on inaccuracies in political ads is Exhibit #9869872378235983374507324907.
A record year for political advertising has brought with it a hail of televised exaggerations, omissions and mischaracterizations that pollsters say seem to be leaving voters with mistaken impressions of Senator John Kerry and President Bush.
The degree to which the advertisements push the facts, or go beyond them, varies by commercial. But both campaigns are being criticized as frequently going beyond the bounds of truth.
In three of its advertisements, Mr. Bush's campaign has said Mr. Kerry would raise taxes by at least $900 billion in his first 100 days in office. Mr. Kerry has no such plan.
In an advertisment for Mr. Kerry, an announcer said, "George Bush says sending jobs overseas makes sense for America." Mr. Bush never said that.
Anything unfair there? Actually, no. It's not exactly as informative as it could be, but it's not actually unfair.
What's wrong is the remainder of the fourth paragraph, which I excised from the quote above. Here's the rest:
A report to Congress by his top economic adviser said cheaper production of goods overseas had long-term benefits but did not make the plain case that domestic job losses were a good thing.
This extra explanation provides needed context for the advertisement's inaccurate claim. Kerry defenders would say that though President Bush didn't specifically say those words, his administration acts on a that belief -- or something along those lines.
But we don't get any explanation of where the kernel of truth is within the Bush ad.
In the interest of fairness, here's the explanation Hoystory would've added to the article:
President Bush's campaign contends that in order to pay for all of the new programs Sen. Kerry has proposed, he would have to raise $900 billion. Kerry's proposed tax hikes on the rich and program cuts are reportedly insufficient to pay for all of the new programs.
Without the explanation on each ad, it appears as though the Bush campaign is flatly lying, while the Kerry campaign has its heart in the right place, but is just technically inaccurate.