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Attack ads should be researched to find truth

Guest op-eds

October 28, 2012
Dan Adamini , The Mining Journal

Political attack ads have thinkers wearing out their keyboards looking for the truth and have blind-loyal partisans happy when people they dislike are attacked.

Candidates and groups spend a lot of time attacking opponents with claims "based on a true story" but often are far from the truth.

Many people don't have the time to check the honesty of these ads and some don't know how. Worse are those that don't even bother to see if attacks are true, as long as someone they don't like is the target of the attack.

I have friends and acquaintances who occasionally repeat what they have heard without researching the truth of those claims, often because they want to believe them.

No matter the topic, or the candidate being discussed, you can follow simple steps to verify what you see and hear. Especially now, when our discourse is so impolite, it is important to take the time to verify claims before you repeat things that very well may not be true.

When you see an attack ad, note the group sponsoring the ad. The group is mentioned in the final moments of the ad. Go to the attacking group's website, and then to the reference itself. Don't simply believe the interpretation from either side. Think for yourself. Once you read it yourself, you will likely find that the claim being made is far from true.

For instance, if you see attacks against U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, go to the website of that group. Once there, find the reference for the claim being made. You will find it somewhere in the ads posted on their sites. This all takes time but is necessary if you don't want to be counted among those who blindly follow party lines, believe only what you want to believe, or worse yet, simply believe and repeat any claim against people you don't like.

If you read the bills referenced and take the time to find the facts (not what other people say about the facts) you will find that Rep. Benishek did not vote to end Medicare, to raise Medicare costs by $6,400, or allow more mercury to be dumped in the Great Lakes.

The congressman also did not say people in Upper Michigan don't want to work. All of this can be found if you simply go to the actual bills and actual statements, and don't simply repeat what others say is in those bills or statements.

House Bill 2018 preserves states' authority to set clean water standards and also limits the EPA administrator's ability to arbitrarily set standards and prevents the EPA from, "sitting," on permits - requiring they be approved or denied in a timely manner. Attackers call this "gutting the Clean Water Act," a claim no clear-thinking person would make after reading the bill.

The bill (supported by Democrats and Republicans), allows five years rather than three for cement companies to comply with new EPA standards. No clear-thinking person interprets this as "allowing cement factories to increase pollution."

But these ads don't target the clear thinkers. They target those who are likely to believe without a question.

Attacks against all candidates should be questioned and researched regardless of party. There are attacks against Matt Huuki, using the same tactics I've already mentioned. If you follow the steps I've mentioned, you will find that the attacks are simply an attempt to make you believe something that is only "based on a true story." If Benishek and Huuki are really such bad guys, why do the attacks twist the truth, rather than create false impressions? Because the truth probably wouldn't grab your attention.

My point is simply this: take the time to be an educated voter. Verify the attacks used against all candidates, not just the ones you like. Romney's comment that 47 percent will never vote for him is partially based on the fact that some won't be swayed by facts.

Prove him wrong by being a better educated voter. If you can't justify the reasons for your vote, you may serve your country and community better by not voting at all.

Editor's note: Dan Adamini is chair of the Marquette County Republican Party, and host of local radio talk show, "In The Right Mind." He may be contacted by emailing



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