Well it is happening once again. So far right wing groups have run some 60,052 ads since the beginning of August. While many have been objectively proven to be just a bunch of distortion and lies they are making an impact. Greg Sargent has a partial list, just of the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads ads, and just on the Senate side.
Here's something important that's getting lost in the firefight over the money funding the ads by the U.S. Chamber and Karl Rove's groups: Many of the ads themselves have been debunked by independent fact checkers as false, grossly misleading, or marred with distortions....Once the poison, factual or not, is out there some damage has been done. People hear the ad but not the discrediting part. Once the lie is out there the damage is done. As I said above the right learned that lesson with the swift boat attacks on John Kerry. The sorry bit is that there is no downside for this kind of stuff. The right knows these ads do damage and they can run them with impunity. These folks are being funded by some very deep corporate and foreign pockets that are keenly interested in seeing any semblance of progressive politics stifled completely. It's a tragedy for America but they are going to win the day.
Not only are the ads themselves getting widely debunked, but the justifications the groups are offering for the ad onslaught attacking Democrats (that liberals and labor do this too) are also demonstrably false or misleading. We're witnessing a massive disinformation campaign flooding airwaves across the country that could change the outcome of major races and shift the balance of power in Congress, funded by money from undisclosed sources, justified with still more falsehoods and disinformation.
Here's a partial list of debunked ads hitting Dems from the Chamber, and Rove's groups, Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads:
* A Chamber ad was yanked from two Pennsylvania TV stations after they determined its claim about Pennsylvania Senate Dem candidate Joe Sestak and Nancy Pelosi was false.
* A Crossroads GPS ad slamming Sestak over health care reform and Medicare was skewered by FactCheck.org for its "wild exaggeration" and dismissed as "badly misleading."
* A Crossroads GPS ad attacking California Senator Barbara Boxer for voting to cut Medicare spending by $500 billion was rated by Politifact as "barely true" and "seriously misleading."
* Two Chamber ads attacking Boxer for favoring freshwater fish over jobs were dismissed by Factcheck.org, though with some caveats, as follows: "Strictly speaking, both ads are untrue."
* Also in the above link, FactCheck.org slammed Crossroads GPS for making similiarly misleading claims about health reform in an ad targeting Kentucky Dem Senate candidate Jack Conway. FactCheck.org's conclusion: "Don't let Crossroads GPS steer you down the wrong road."
* An American Crossroads ad blasting Harry Reid with various claims about unemployment and the stimulus was dismissed by the Las Vegas Sun for "egregious" stretching of the facts and "gross distortions."
* That same ad was also ripped by FactCheck.org for distorting the truth and by Politifact as "false."
* An American Crossroads ad hammering Ohio Dem Senate candidate Lee Fisher over job creation and tax hikes was skewered by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "incomplete" and "mucked up with distortions."
* An ABC affiliate in Colorado found that a Crossroads GPS ad attacking Senator Michael Bennet made a misleading claim about Bennet on government spending and conflated opinion for fact on the stimulus.
And so on. Those are just Senate races; I may follow up with House races.