Senator Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday morning to blast the Koch brothers and their campaign of disinformation and half truths in an attempt to, as he so accurately puts it, “buy America.”
In his original comments on the misleading ads run by their Americans for Prosperity conservative advocacy group Reid had said that every single ad that they have run has proven to be false. He was chided for that statement by Republican members and returned to speak again this time saying that the majority of their ads are misleading if not outright false.
The Senator is right. A search of Politifact for AFP political ads yields a list of 3 stories and 7 statements between June of 2012 and February of this year none of which were rated as completely true.
The best rating any of these AFP sponsored ads got was the infamous ad about a woman in Tennessee who claimed that because of Obamacare she lost her insurance which had cost her $52 a month and was forced to pay $373 a month for the plan which she purchased through the federal health care website.
In this case, although the site did not rate it, it was a matter of factual omissions that made the ad less than honest. The woman chose the second most expensive platinum plan available to her and will have no deductible with a maximum out of pocket payment of $1500 a year.
The other 9 items were rated between misleading and false, with one rated half true.
Reid quoted from an editorial by Mark Mellman in The Hill which is highly critical of the methods employed by the Koch brothers and AFP. He points out that nearly all of their ads would fail to pass scrutiny if they had to abide by the same standards as an ad for a consumer product. He uses an ad from Louisiana which features people opening their mail to discover that their insurance has been cancelled due to Obamacare. These people are actually actors but unlike an ad for a consumer product they are not required to disclose that and they don’t, they allow the public to believe that these are real people.
He then points out that even in the ads where real people are featured the whole truth is scrupulously avoided, such as in the ad attacking Representative Gary Peters (D-MI) and featuring Julie Boonstra who suffers from leukemia.
Boonstra tells the camera that she has lost her “wonderful” insurance policy due to Obamacare, and now she is facing huge out of pocket costs which are going to financially destroy her. She goes on to say that she is likely to die because she can no longer obtain the medications that were keeping her alive.
That was all 100% weapons-grade BULLSH*T. Boonstra is not facing huge increases in expenses. At worst she will spend $2 per year more than she was before. She has not lost her doctor, nor has she been unable to obtain her medications.
Senator Reid is absolutely right when he says, “what’s going on with these two brothers who made billions of dollars last year, and attempt to buy our democracy is dishonest, deceptive, false and unfair. Just because you have huge amounts of money you should not be able to run these false misleading ads by the hundreds of millions of dollars. They hide behind all kinds of entities, Mr. President, it’s not just their front organization Americans for Prosperity, they give money to all kinds of organizations, lots of money. You see when you make billions of dollars a year you can be just as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be. It’s too bad that they’re trying to buy America and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty. The Koch brothers are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”