Vast Majority Of Chamber's 27,000 Ads This Year Focus On Health Care Reform

October 12, 2010 9:30 am ET — Alan Pyke

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has aired over 27,500 ads this calendar year on American television, according to advertising data reviewed by Political Correction. 378 were on national cable, and the rest were purchased in targeted media markets. Remarkably, the Chamber has managed to break the 1,000 mark in 10 different states:

• PENNSYLVANIA: 4,717 ads

• CALIFORNIA: 3,244 ads

• FLORIDA: 1,740 ads

• INDIANA: 1,708 ads

• MISSOURI: 1,479 ads

• KENTUCKY: 1,351 ads

• ILLINOIS: 1,277 ads

• COLORADO: 1,240 ads

• NEW YORK: 1,228 ads

• OHIO: 1,168 ads

These 10 states account for 19,152 ads — or about 70 percent of the total 27,511 ads the Chamber has aired this year.

Many of these ads date from the end of the health care debate, when votes were imminent and anti-reform groups were flooding the airwaves with attacks on the legislation. A total of 7,283 Chamber health care ads in these states (about 38 percent) aired in March or earlier. But don't think for a second that means the Chamber has changed gears.

Three-quarters of the ads in this group are built around health care and clean energy. If we remove two states where the Chamber ignores health care and energy then the numbers jump: 93 percent of the Chamber's ads in those eight states exploit fears about health care and energy policy. In three states — New York, Missouri, and Indiana — every single Chamber ad attacks health care reform.

In Pennsylvania, where the Chamber has run an eye-popping 4,717 ads, 98 percent of the ads refer to health care, clean energy, or both. (The other end of the volume spectrum reflects the health care focus as well; the Chamber has only run 40 ads in Iowa, but all 40 have lied about "government run health care" and Medicare cuts.) A third of these ads — 1,559 — aired in March, but since then the Chamber has managed to air over 3,000 ads criticizing health care reform. One ad attacking Joe Sestak's support for clean energy legislation has aired 1,977 times already. It's not accurate to call the House legislation a "job killing energy tax," but that's what the Chamber has told Pennsylvania voters. One-thousand nine-hundred and seventy-seven times.

Another ad, a pure health care hit titled "100 % Pelosi," has aired 829 times in Pennsylvania so far. We checked the ad — it's bogus. But that's not shutting the Chamber up about health care and energy. So what is? Something about California and Illinois, it turns out.

Those two states from the above list stand out because the Chamber isn't talking about health care or energy policy. 85 percent of the Chamber's California ads ignore the two policy fields to go after Sen. Boxer (D) on local water-management issues and on the debt (the latter in a deceptive ad called "28 Years"). In Illinois, the Chamber isn't using any airtime on health care or energy; 97 percent of their ads make personal attacks on Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias.