A fact-check that actually checks the facts

By Dave Andrusko

Well, I am overjoyed. I lived long enough to see CNN actually fact-check some “misleading” Democratic ads on abortion.

Daniel Dale chose the abortion stances of four Republicans running for Congress. He could have chosen many more—“This is not meant to be an exhaustive list; we haven’t watched all of the numerous abortion ads that have aired around the country”– but beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s Dale’s introductory paragraphs:

Democrats have spent weeks attacking Republican midterm candidates with television ads about abortion. Some of the ads have been misleading. 

Many of the Democratic ads accurately describe their Republican targets’ strict anti-abortion positions. But some others employ slippery phrasing and the power of insinuation to promote the impression that certain Republican candidates have taken more aggressive anti-abortion stands than these candidates actually have. 

Some ads try to make it sound like Republicans who support exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother are opposed to these exceptions. Other ads try to make it sound like Republicans who have opposed the idea of a federal abortion ban are supportive of a federal ban. 

Here’s a look at ads targeting four Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. 

Indeed, the Democrats’ ads are not simply “misleading.” They are blatant lies, which Dale (using much more restrained language) chooses to avoid writing. Is lying too harsh a word? No. In some cases, the ads attribute to the Republicans positions they clearly don’t subscribe to. Or, as Dale put it, the ad did not acknowledge that the Republican “has taken a public position against the proposals the ad insinuated that she plans to support.”

Some candidates have a history of disavowing positions on abortion that the Democratic ad makers carefully ignore. The ads paint in broad strokes—a “one size fits all,” as the lawyer for one of the four campaigns put it—in order to mislead and misrepresent.

Shame on them.

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