Dick Morris' Fox-boosted ads reportedly being "revise[d]" due to "wrong facts"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

An anti-health care ad campaign boosted by promotions on Fox News is reportedly being revised because the commercials "had the wrong facts."

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) reported today that the conservative group League of American Voters is spending $40,000 to air ads targeting Rep. Dan Maffei's (D-NY) "vote on health care reform. But there's one problem: The commercials from the League of American Voters had the wrong facts, and now the group is being forced to revise the TV campaign."

The ads, which started airing on local stations this past weekend, falsely claimed Maffei supports taxing individual health insurance plans to pay for the reforms, as approved by the U.S. Senate.

In fact, Maffei, D-DeWitt, has publicly opposed the Senate bill because of the tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans. He voted for the House bill which pays for reforms through a surcharge on the wealthiest Americans - individuals with more than $500,000 per year in income, or $1 million for those filing jointly.

Bob Adams, executive director of the League of American Voters, a group formed in July to oppose President Obama's health care plan, said new commercials with correct information should begin airing today.

The new ads will no longer state that Maffei voted for "big taxes on good insurance plans."

"We have basically replaced the ad," Adams said Tuesday. "What we should have said is he voted for an income tax surcharge."

Maffei has defended the surcharge, saying it will affect less than 1 percent of all Central New Yorkers.

The ads have received help from Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris in repeated appearances on Fox News. On last week's The O'Reilly Factor, Fox & Friends, and Hannity, Morris urged viewers to visit his website to learn how to pressure "vulnerable" Democrats to vote against health care reform. Morris' website features numerous fund solicitations ("give us money to run the ad!") for the League of American Voters. On Hannity, Morris said: "I urge everybody to go to DickMorris.com and call all of those guys and women. And then the League of American Voters has prepared advertisements to run in each of their districts."

The League of American Voters lists Morris as its chief strategist. In August, executive director Bob Adams said Morris was responsible for crafting "our ads and national campaign" against the "dream of a socialistic health care system." In September, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported that "[p]recisely when and how Morris connected with the group is not known" and Adams "declined to say exactly how and when the group formed, but he did say that Morris was involved from the beginning and came on board as a volunteer."

The larger point in all this is not necessarily that disgraced political strategist Morris is dishonest and has a flimsy grasp of facts (we already know this). It's that Fox News still allows its "Fox News political analyst" to use airtime to push donations to a political advocacy group so it can target "vulnerable" Democrats. As we've asked here, would a real news organization do that?

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Dick Morris
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