Fact Checking Crossroads GPS' Anti-Union Ad

March 09, 2011 4:37 pm ET — Alan Pyke

The latest ad from Crossroads GPS — backed with $750,000 from the right-wing billionaires who fund Karl Rove's brainchild — smears public employee unions with out-of-context video clips and a statistic so misleading even the conservative scholar the ad cites to back it up condemns the ad as a misrepresentation of his work. With GOP efforts to bust public worker unions in Wisconsin seemingly on the ropes, this ad attempts to reframe the debate by painting union workers as violent, selfish, and overpaid shills of the Democratic Party. In the process, Crossroads GPS tells some whoppers.

In response to the ad, the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards explained the problem to Greg Sargent:

"The ad misrepresents the gap between union and non-union government workers, and it appears to misrepresent the 42 percent statistic as if it were between government and private workers."

The error here is unforced — the Edwards piece cited in the ad begins with a condemnation of collective bargaining, making him a natural ally for the right-wing money-mill that aired 20,000 TV ads during the 2010 election.

It makes sense that Crossroads is looking to create strife "between government and private workers," but misrepresenting the work of someone who shares their fundamental perspective toward the labor movement exposes their disdain for honest argument. And the spot's big finish — a disingenuously edited clip of the National Education Association's former head lawyer that makes him sound like he hates children — only adds to the air of desperation.

Watch the ad and read our full fact check HERE.