Candidate admits false TV ad, keeps running it, stations can do nothing – just when you thought you’d heard it all on how rotten politics can get.

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Political musings
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Susan Bysiewicz admits her ad is lying, yet thinks it’s close enough to be OK to still run it. What … what?

So, as Scully Communications have pointed out, the campaign for wannabee Democrat Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz (who is trying to replace Senator Joe Liebermann who is retiring, and is contesting with another Democrat contender Chris Murphy) is running an attack TV ad that is demonstrably false, and her campaign team have admitted it.

Apparently the idiots confused the candidate they were attacking with another person of the same name. Yet they are not taking the ad down!

As Scully explains in a story headlined “New Low in Political Advertising”:

“US Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz should immediately take down her untruthful attack ad against Democratic rival Chris Murphy, apologize, and find another way to throw a Hail Mary pass in her flagging campaign.

However, the very fact that there is a general lack of outrage about the ad (except in the Murphy camp) speaks volumes about the depths to which political advertising has sunk.

A quick refresher: Bysiewicz, who at this point needs the stars to align perfectly (or maybe have one crash to earth right on him) to beat Murphy, went up with a TV ad portraying Murphy as something of a Wall Street Waterboy.

Here it is:

The problem is that the main claim in the ad, “He’s taken more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress” is patently and verifiably false.

The SuBy campaign apparently targeted the wrong Murphy. They were called on it, admitted the charge was false but said the ad would still run. Is this what it’s come to? A campaign admits it’s running a false ad yet won’t take it down? Pathetic. Murphy asked the TV stations running the ad to pull it under these unique circumstances. Apparently, they can’t (which is an entirely different problem).

This past weekend, Bysiewicz defended continuing the ad with yet another false claim as pointed out by CTMirror.org’s Mark Pazniokas. What in the name of Joseph Pulitzer is going on here? Bysiewicz is clearly counting on the fact that many voters are busy with summer camps, vacations and other activities and may not be paying attention to this very important Democratic US Senate primary race. They see the ad, don’t know it’s false and hold it against Murphy because everyone seems to hate Wall Street these days. Then again, that may be her only shot to win.

If Bysiewicz wants to portray Murphy as some kind of flunky for the Rich Uncle Pennybags of the world, have at it! But I don’t we should tolerate using false data to back it up. The very-much -missed former candidate Lee Whitnum called Murphy “a whore” during a televised debate. Ok, but she didn’t then contend that Murphy was arrested in Berlin Turnpike motel taking $20 for giving a filibuster.

The guess here is that this whole thing backfires on Bysiewicz. It only adds to her reputation for scorched-earth campaigning, even against fellow Democrats. It dates back to 1998 when she faced fellow Democrat Ellen Scalettar in a primary for secretary of state. She won but only a series of TV ads that distorted Scalettar’s views and record. To this day, there are hard feelings about that one among Democrats.

Murphy is running a near-flawless campaign, has plenty of money and even turned this whole disgraceful episode into a fundraising vehicle of his own. Bysiewicz is not going to beat him even with an admittedly false ad running.”

Just how serious is this? Pretty damn serious, in my humble opinion.

I congratulate Mr Scully and others on bringing this travesty to light to a wider audience. But the bit that really fascinates me is the fact the Federal Law prevents TV stations from removing the ad even when they know it contains a lie.

This is surely nuts, and is even a bigger scandal, I propose, than Ms . Bysiewicz’s shameless mendacity.

Only in America, right? Sadly, no.

We have a similar situation in Australia where the only advertising that legally does not have to be truthful is political advertising. (Labor and the conservative Liberal-National Coalition combined to defeat a move by the now-vanished Australian Democrats to legislate this anomaly away some years ago.)

No wonder “ordinary people” despairingly think all politicians are liars, when the law specifically protects their right to be so.

Sadly, this is just one more nail in the coffin of participatory Western-style democracy.

When people no longer have enough confidence to participate in the political process, no matter how minimally, then we are in great danger of slipping into a very different society: one run not by elected representatives, but a sham democracy, which is really controlled by vested interests, crony politicians, and powerful businesses. In short order, any real opposition will be silenced, first through ridicule, (aided and abetted by a compliant media) then by legal entanglements, (step forward, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning) including not being allowed to present a coherent defence as happened to Manning recently, and if that doesn’t work, by simply physical persecution and murder.

“I love a good soak.”

Indeed, we may be there already, or very close to it.

Further chaos in the world’s economy will hasten the decline. The West is suffering, as I have said, from boiling frog syndrome. The cuts to our freedoms are continual, incremental, but often so small in and of themselves that no one notices. So we sit in the warm water, satiated by bread and circuses, not noticing that everything is changing, fatally.

This is surely an area where many on the left, and the libertarian Right, should bury at least some of their differences and fight back.

We have plenty of time to debate the appropriate role of government and taxation down the track, when and if we re-take control of the levers of power from the hands of those who don’t actually think that truth – simple, verifiable truth – should be the first principle of any democratic society.

Comments
  1. mlshatto says:

    There are a number of loud voices in the U.S. proclaiming the dangers of our loss of freedom. Unfortunately, the freedoms that most concern them are the freedom to own as many guns as possible, the freedom to impose fundamentalist, dominionist Christian beliefs on a diverse population, and the freedom to prevent the use of public resources for health care for women and the poor. In many instances “freedom” has been redefined as “license” and reduced to individualized rights with no regard for the common good. The noise of these arguments is drowning out those whose concern is for democratic freedoms as outlined in this post, and dangerously narrowing public perception of what living in a free country should mean.

  2. Gad, it just gets better and better doesn’t it. I wonder, when do citizens of reasonable intelligence stand up and say enough? When do we finally hit the wall of too damned much and say no more…I wonder.

  3. [...] Candidate admits false TV ad, keeps running it, stations can do nothing – just when you though… [...]

  4. jvdix says:

    In some states, a radio or TV station has the right to refuse a false or misleading political ad, but only if it is a third party ad. Still, in those states, for third party ads, it is not a complete waste of time for a citizen to register a complaint. Flakcheck has a record of which states have these laws. Sadly, it won’t work for an ad directly from the candidate in any state.

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