How about a Super PAC to expose lies?
November 12, 2012By Dave Davies
The Mitt Romney campaign kept running this ad after it was widely criticized by independent fact-checkers as inaccurate.
A few weeks back I interviewed Eugene Kiely of FactCheck.org, and I asked what happened after his organization exposed a TV ad in the presidential race as being essentially a lie.
Absolutely nothing, he said. The campaign kept running the ad as if nothing had changed.
It brings to mind the statement by a Romney campaign pollster that "We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."
I thought of this over the weekend, and remembered reading in a New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer that many wealthy liberals were reluctant to donate to Democratic super PACs because they thought the idea was inherently undemocratic.
Then it dawned on me — those folks should form a super PAC of their own dedicated to buying TV ad time to expose lies uncovered by independent fact-checkers in the next campaign.
The reason campaigns peddle lies they know will be caught by fact-checkers is that the lies will be propagated by tens of millions of dollars worth of TV ad buys, while the fact-checkers have only the lame old free media to spread their word. No contest.
So if we're going to keep running elections like there are no rules, how about putting some real financial muscle behind the truth?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, super PACs spent $631 million in the 2012 elections, and that doesn't begin to capture all the outside money in federal elections this year.
A small fraction of that spent on TV ads in key states to expose the biggest lies would make campaign operatives think twice about the sludge they pump into our political discourse.
Heavens, could we have a campaign dictated by fact-checkers?
It's worth thinking about.