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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Nelson asks Florida TV stations not to air U.S. Chamber ad

Laywers for Sen. Bill Nelson have written to Florida TV stations asking them not to air an ad that includes a false claim about Medicare cuts.

From a news release: In the wake of the recent Citizens United case, in which the Supreme Court allowed unlimited and undisclosed corporate money to be spent on such ads, TV stations have a greater responsibility to protect the public from the spread of false and deceptive information, Kendall Coffey, a lawyer for Nelson wrote in a letter to the stations today.

“On behalf of our client, we respectfully insist that you take this inaccurate ad off the air immediately,” Coffey wrote.  “As a media outlet, this station has a duty to protect the public from the spread of false information and deliberate deception.

The U.S. Chamber announced the 30-second ad last week and it repeats a widely used Republican claim that Democrats cut $500 billion from Medicare. It wasn't a cut, according to Politifact. It was a reduction in future growth (the size of the Medicare program will increase dollar-wise).

Nelson's lawyers contacted 48 stations, 10 cable operations, according to spokesman Dan McLaughlin. A letter sent to WFTS-TV Tampa is below.

Following is the text of the letter:
 
May 14, 2012


Via email: rpegram@wfts.com
 
Rich Pegram
WFTS-TV, Tampa
 
            Re:  Senator Bill Nelson
 
Dear Mr. Pegram:
 
            We represent Sen. Bill Nelson.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has bought time on your station for an ad that is seriously misleading and relies on a false assertion concerning Bill's Senate record.
 
            Specifically, the ad says: “… seniors will see $500 billion in Medicare cuts to fund Obamacare.”
 
Just last Friday, FactCheck.org, a non-partisan, non-profit consumer advocate project with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, examined this ad and reported: “Chamber Continues To Mislead On Healthcare Law.”  In addition, the Pulitzer Prize-winning,  independent non-profit organization PolitiFact has reported a number of times that the claim is “false.”
 
I am enclosing links to the findings of these independent fact-checking organizations. 
 
            On behalf of our client, we respectfully insist that you take this inaccurate ad off the air immediately.  As a media outlet, this station has a duty to protect the public from the spread of false information and deliberate deception.
 
            Sincerely,
 
            Kendall Coffey
            Abigail Parent
 
http://factcheck.org/2012/05/chamber-continues-to-mislead-on-health-care-law/
 
http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/jun/23/national-republican-senatorial-committee/nrsc-claims-sen-sherrod-brown-voted-cut-500-billio/

[Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 1:34pm]

    

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