Have Harry Reid and the order of the fact-checkers beaten back the the brothers who shall not be named (at least in their own ads)? That is, has a Koch-supported group been forced to “abandon” its powerful but false Obamacare “horror story” commercials, as some believe?
After Senate Majority Leader Reid attacked the oil billionaires for trying to “buy” elections by blanketing battleground states with more than $30 million worth of ads that he called “lies,” the Koch-funded advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) appears to be easing off the misleading campaign. In it, real people claim that they can’t afford Obamacare or that they’ve lost coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.
In the most glaring case, a spot targeting Democratic Senate candidate Representative Gary Peters, a Michigan woman with leukemia, Julie Boonstra, says she was forced off her old plan and onto Obamacare, which makes her life-saving medications unaffordable. “If I do not receive my medication, I will die,” she says. But the Detroit News found that Boonstra would actually save more than $1000 a year on the ACA plan. (She insists that “can’t be true.”)
Maybe it’s because of Reid’s barbs, Representative Peters’s letter telling TV stations they’re violating FTC rules by airing a misleading ad about health or all the Pinocchio noses and “False” ratings the ads have garnered from fact-checkers, but the AFP has just laid out $1.7 million to run a spot so understated and reasonable-sounding that it might indeed seem as if the Kochs are backing off.
Running in Colorado against Senator Mark Udall and in Louisiana against Senator Mary Landrieu, the spot doesn’t feature an aggrieved real person sitting at home but a slightly hip, even liberal-looking, actress standing against the kind of all-white background you’d find at an art gallery. She speaks straight to the camera and makes empathic hand gestures.
“People don’t like political ads,” she says. “I don’t like them either. But healthcare isn’t about politics. It’s about people. It’s not about a website that doesn’t work, it’s not about polls numbers or approval ratings, it’s about people.”