This new ad from conservative group Americans for Prosperity is up with a $6.1 million ad buy in a number of swing states, including Colorado. You’ve probably seen it by now, by off-air or cable. We haven’t seen any of our local fact-checking operations review this ad yet, but if national reviews are any indication, it’s one of the more blatantly false ads in some time.
The New York Times late last week:
In making the general assertion that “billions of taxpayer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries,” the ad cites as evidence $1.2 billion that went “to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico.” In fact, the company involved in the plant, SunPower, said that the $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee was for its solar ranch in California, and that while some of the panels for the ranch will be coming from a plant in Mexico, most were coming from its California operations…
Loans under the agency’s alternative vehicle program went to Fisker Automotive, an American electric car company based in California that has facilities in Finland, as well as China and Germany. The agency provided $169 million for engineering and tooling work, all carried out in the United States, an energy department official said. The vehicles themselves are being assembled in Fisker’s existing plant in Finland, but the federal money was used only for the U.S. operations, according to the energy department.
The agency also says that the ad’s claim that stimulus money was spent to build traffic lights in China is false. The department said that it provided money to install new traffic lights in communities across the United States, creating jobs in this country.
Based on that, Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler concludes today:
One can certainly raise questions about how stimulus funding was used and whether it was effective. But there is no excuse for these kinds of ads, which take facts out of context or simply invent them. [Pols emphasis] These groups should be especially ashamed, given that these claims have been previously debunked…
Unfortunately, the $500,000 AFP is reportedly spending to air this ad in Colorado assures more “low-information” voters will see AFP’s message than will ever see the comprehensive debunking of it. Short of an act of conscience on the part of broadcasters to pull the ad themselves, which happens only very rarely, it’s misinformation pretty much spread without consequence.
So you’d better get the word out yourselves or something.