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Where Political Ads Go To Be Mocked

Less than eight weeks before the presidential election, there's really no escaping political ads, especially if you live in one of the dozen or so battleground states where the election could turn.

Traditional fact-check organizations are weighing in, as they have throughout the campaign. But so is On The Media's sometimes snarky, fact-checkish "Media Scrutiny Theater 2012," which we've blogged about before.

Recently, the program produced by public media's WNYC in New York has given its signature voice-over treatment to ads that include a pro-Mitt Romney superPAC conflating President Obama's health care law with Canada's government-run health care system, and a pro-Obama superPAC claiming that Romney wants "a huge new $150,000 tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent, while cutting Medicare and education for us."

On The Media co-host Brooke Gladstone interrupts the ad to take that claim to task: "That's a fuzzy figure. He says he'll slash taxes 20 percent for everyone, but he won't extend Obama's tax changes. So we don't know."

On the health care ad, USA Today said the conservative Americans for Prosperity paid $6.2 million to hit the airwaves in 11 swing states in an ad buy timed to coincide with the Democratic National Convention.

It also noted that nonpartisan "fact-checkers who reviewed previous versions of the ad have said AFP employs a "Canadian straw man," noting that Canada has a single-payer system without private insurance. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama signed into law in 2010, patients still buy their own insurance, either through their employer or through state-run exchanges."

The entire 30-second anti-Romney ad, funded by Priorities USA Action, features the now-famous image of a younger Romney posing with Bain Capital colleagues, all of them displaying cash. At times, the ad superimposes the face of a contemporary Romney onto the 1985 photo.

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Greg Henderson

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