Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NRA ad vs. Obama latest case of truth being stretched to breaking point; both sides flawed

As a presidential election nears, candidates' advertising often stretches or distorts the truth, and it can get really bad when ads come from lobbying interests, which voters find difficult or impossible to hold accountable for their actions.

In a new ad campaign the National Rifle Association falsely accuses Barack Obama of wanting to "ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition," reports FactCheck.org, a bipartisan effort to expose false statements made by both campaigns.

Much of the ad "is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he 'respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms' and 'will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns.' . . . we find the NRA has cherry-picked, twisted and misrepresented Obama's record." (Read more)

FactCheck has found fault with several Obama ads about John McCain's plan for Social Security, funding of education, and regulation of health care. It has found shortcomings in the McCain campaign's ads on Obama's tax plan, his stance on sex education and one distorting FactCheck's findings. We encourage newspapers, broadcast stations and bloggers to use FactCheck.

FactCheck has also found fault with an interest group backing Obama, the AFL-CIO, and its advertising accusing McCain of costing politically crucial southwestern Ohio 8,000 jobs. The labor federation and an Obama ad claimed McCain helped pave the way for DHL, a German based delivery company, to take over Airborne Express by voting against an amendment to stop the takeover. Airborne had already laid off 2,000 workers before the merger was announced and McCain claimed he did not vote for the amendment to stop the takeover because it was inserted into an unrelated special project bill, a move endorsed at the time by the Teamsters Union. "it's implausible to suggest that an Arizona senator's vote in 2003 is directly responsible for the business decisions of an independent company five years later," Joe Miller of FactCheck writes. (Read more)

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