Yesterday, Greg Sargent thoroughly debunked a new ad that is targeting Connecticut Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy from the pro-GOP American Action Network. The ad focuses on the recently passed health care reform law, and employs a number of the same misleading charges that other groups have used as detailed in a new People For the American Way report. But the American Action Network takes it one step further, and says that the reform law will mandate “jail time” for people who do not purchase health care insurance:
The ad claims health reform means "$500 billion in Medicare cuts." But Politifact found that "the law does not take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget."
The ad claims health reform means "thousands of new IRS agents." But Factcheck.org pronounced that assertion "wildly misleading."
As for the claim of "jail time for anyone without coverage," the original bill passed by the House did provide for possible criminal prosecution of those who evade the tax imposed on those who don't get mandated coverage. But FactCheck.org says the Senate nixed that provision, and the final bill Obama signed said folks will not be subject to criminal prosecution.
Now, at least one Connecticut television station has pulled the ad from the air. This new false allegation even rivals the terribly deceptive claim of another American Action Network ad, which says that taxpayers will subsidize Viagra for sex offenders. Sargent reports:
FoxCT, the local Fox affiliate, informed the Murphy campaign that it would stop running the American Action Network ad after the Murphy camp sent the station a letter detailing the ad's falsehoods, the Murphy campaign confirms. "
We have verified that the ad in question is not accurate and will pull their schedule going forward," a FoxCT executive wrote to the Murphy campaign in an email sent my way. "I hope you have reached out to the other stations and they follow the same course."
I'm told other another Connecticut station may follow suit. If so, I'll update you.
All of which is to confirm -- yet again -- that the untold part of this story is that this national campaign bankrolled by secret cash is flooding airwaves across the country with an untold number of falsehoods and distortions. We'll probably never have a clear picture of this campaign's scope and reach, or the depth and extent of its mendacity.
Update: The American Action Network's notorious "Viagra ad" has been pulled from the air in Colorado, according to CQ.