The political campaign ad I chose to unspin was an ad that opposed Patty Murray, a democrat running for a position in the Senate. The Ouch ad was paid for by a group called American Action Network. As you can see the ad makes some very severe allegations against Patty; voting for the largest tax increase in history ever and that she promises to vote on higher tax hikes on smaller businesses. After I heard these claims, I thought I better see if these extreme allegations were as true as they seemed in the ad. First, I went to factcheck.org and discovered this quote that takes care of the first allegation.
"Only problem is, it’s not true – at least, not by any reasonable measure that takes into account inflation and other factors. A study by GOP President George W. Bush’s own Treasury Department showed that. Franklin Roosevelt’s tax increase of 1942, as the U.S. prepared to go to war, hiked federal revenues 71 percent. Adjusting for inflation, it amounted to $73 billion a year, while Clinton’s averaged $35 billion a year. (The average is for the first two years.) But even if we stick to recent history, the claim still isn’t true. By the Treasury study’s recommended method for measuring these things, revenue effect as a percentage of GDP, the tax increase Reagan signed in 1982 has been the biggest since 1968. It amounted to 0.8 percent of GDP, much more than the 0.5 percent of GDP that the '93 increase accounted for."
This explanation just shows how people can really bend truth to obscure the real facts. So then I started to look to see if the second claim made by this ad was true or just obscured. So, I went to a website called Tax Policy Center and they had this to say about what this ad considers small businesses.
"The average positive business income reported on individual tax returns is less than $40,000. That puts those people well out of reach of the tax increase, if they don’t have other income. Most do, of course, but it’s generally not small business income. The small business owners who will get hit by the reversion of the tax to pre-Bush levels in 2011 are the roughly 500,000 top-bracket filers who will report net positive business income averaging more than $700,000, according to TPC – doctors, lawyers, investors, maybe the owner of a dry-cleaning chain. In most cases, these aren’t the mom-and-pop small businesses that opponents of the expiration try to evoke."
So, as you can see, this ad is completely based on very small grains of sand and their arguments seem to fall off this week foundation with just a little digging. This ad that only presents a few arguments has had me really look at ads political and nonpolitical and see how their claims can fall apart with just a little research.