Roundup: Anti-Choice Political Ads Under Fire for Lies

Robin Marty

It doesn't matter which anti-choice group launches the ads, they all are being accused of outright falsehoods.

Multiple anti-choice groups are launching campaign arms to attack anti-abortion Democrats across the country. And those attacks are quickly resulting in lawsuits over false and misleading advertising.

False advertising charges are being leveled against Americans United for Life in anti-choice Democratic Representative Kathy Dahlkemper’s Pennsylvania race.

From the Associated Press:

Attorneys for Democrat U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper’s campaign want four Erie radio stations to pull an ad by an anti-abortion group that contends her vote for health care reform resulted in “the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions ever.”

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Americans United for Life stands by the ad, saying the freshman lawmaker voted to pass a final version of the bill that omitted key safeguards to prevent federal funding of abortions.

But the campaign’s lawyers said in a letter to the stations on Wednesday that the ad is “slanderous, inaccurate and falsifies … Dahlkemper’s stance on abortion.”

“We’re hopeful that the radio stations won’t air the ads and be responsible and honor their (Federal Communications Commission) licenses,” Erie attorney Philip Friedman told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The Erie Times-News first reported the letter sent to three FM stations owned by Connoisseur Media, of Westport, Conn. and a fourth owned by Citadel Broadcasting, based in Las Vegas and New York City.

In Ohio, Rep. Steve Driehaus is the subject of attack ads by Susan B. Anthony List, and he’s responding with a criminal lawsuit.  Via Politico:

On Tuesday, Driehaus filed a complaint alleging that billboards from the Susan B. Anthony List, a Washington-based group that advocates on behalf of anti-abortion women candidates, are illegal under Ohio law because they feature a photo of Driehaus and say: “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.”

“Despite the fact that [health reform] does not permit and in fact prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions, the SBA List and other groups opposed to Congressman Driehaus’ reelection have published and disseminated the false statement,” the campaign’s complaint reads.

“This is the latest volley in a smear campaign that SBA List and its Republican allies have been running since the time the health care vote was passed. We have repeatedly put out information demonstrating that there is no federal funding for abortion in the health care law,” said Tim Mulvey, a Driehaus spokesman. “We have repeatedly challenged Susan B. Anthony List and their allies to identify a single taxpayer dollar going to pay for abortion services; they can’t do it because it’s not there.”

Driehaus, a freshman, is in a tight race to keep his 1st District seat away from former GOP Rep. Steve Chabot, whom he beat in 2008.

The billboards were supposed to go up in Driehaus’s heavily anti-abortion Cincinnati district earlier this week. But the company tasked with erecting the billboards, Lamar Advertising, has agreed to hold off on putting them up until the commission rules on whether the billboards are legal.

The law makes it illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

Now, Susan B. Anthony List has decided to embark on a campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running a write-in campaign against Tea Party candidate Joe Miller in an attempt to retain her senate seat after a primary loss.  The Hill reports:

The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) announced Friday that it is endorsing Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) and releasing a radio ad targeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

“Joe Miller’s unique experience and commitment to rescind taxpayer funding of abortion in the federal healthcare legislation is urgently needed in the coming Congress,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the anti-abortion-rights group’s president, said in a statement.

SBA spent $10,000 on the radio spot, a significant buy in the state. The ad features the voice of an “ear doctor” showing up at Murkowski’s office “for the hearing test.”

“Alaska voters sent me, afraid she didn’t hear them during the primary,” he says.

Murkowski already had her lawyers demanding that a misleading Tea Party Express campaign commerical be pulled from the airwaves.  Will the new SAB List quickly be following?

Mini roundup: A Saudi professor discusses introducing sex ed to the classroom, while in Egypt, the classes are being removed.

October 8, 2010

October 7, 2010

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