Assembly-Line Advertising: How The Right Wing Recycles Ads To Spread Misinformation All Over The Country

September 17, 2010 10:39 am ET — Alan Pyke

Monitoring right-wing attack ads for misinformation is a full-time gig. But sometimes a national organization will latch onto a gimmick and run with it all around the country. Two big conservative ad shops have committed to this sort of assembly-line approach to advertising so far this election season.

60 Plus Association, which fancies itself the right-wing answer to the AARP, has been running ads that feature senior citizens criticizing Democratic members of Congress for supporting the Affordable Care Act. The criticisms that 60 Plus paid these folks to read into a camera are false and misleading, but it's a pretty powerful 30 seconds of television: trustworthy community elders want you to vote against the Democrat. And 60 Plus is putting a lot of eggs into this rickety basket. The ad — titled either "Hurts" or "Betrayed," depending on some subtle changes to the script — has so far been customized to attack sitting Democrats in Arizona, Indiana and Ohio. Hotline On Call reported last week that 60 Plus is paying $4 million to run this ad in 10 districts.

The American Future Fund, a right wing misinformation shop with roots in Iowa and millions to spend, is taking a similar approach with its "Trick" ad. AFF thinks it hit the jackpot with some shadowy images of a magician waving a wand and flipping over a playing card with Speaker Pelosi's face on it, so they've retooled the ad to go after Democrats in 14 districts. Price tag: $4 million. We have now fact checked multiple versions of this ad in two separate posts, which we will update accordingly as versions of the ad appear in new districts.

These ads will keep cropping up with subtle modifications — so far the versions differ only in which Democratic policies they choose to lie about — and we will keep pointing out where they are factually wrong.

Below is a chart of the TV buys for the above-referenced ads, with links to the relevant fact check items. We will update this post as media buys demand.


"Ad Title" - Democratic Target

American Future Fund

"Trick" - Rep. Baron Hill (IN)


"Trick" - Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM)


"Trick" - Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)


"Trick" - Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX)


"Trick" - Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA)


"Trick" - Rep. Bobby Bright (AL)


"Trick" - Rep. Jim Marshall (GA)


"Trick" - Rep. Mark Schauer (MI)

60 Plus Association

"Betrayed" - Rep. Joe Donnelly (IN)


"Betrayed" - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ)


"Betrayed" - Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)


"Betrayed" - Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ)


"Hurts" - Rep. Allen Boyd (FL)


"Hurts" - Rep. John Boccieri (OH)


"Hurts" - Rep. Ron Kind (WI)


"Hurts" - Rep. Steve Kagen (WI)