Classic misdirection is the focus of the latest ad attacking financial reform. Airing on KCNC/CBS 4, KMGH/7News and KUSA/9News, the ad plays on the public's fear of another economic catastrophe.
Running in 35 markets across the country the ad was produced and paid for by the Committee for Truth in Politics, a North Carolina organization that sued the Federal Election Commission to prevent disclosure of the source of their funding or any information on its donors. Ads will air in Colorado through February 11, 2010.
You've probably seen it. Foreboding music. Brooding black and gray colors. Images of money changing hands by cigar smoking men. Bold lettering flashing "Big Bank Bailouts," "CITIGROUP" and "Fat Cat Lobbyists." Photos of reliable conservative punching bags Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. This is serious code for "Eeeek, this is scary--whatever they're against, I'm against it, too!"
Copying the now-infamous Frank Luntz memo recommending use of obvious stereotypes and misrepresentation, the ad asserts that the bill designed to prevent another bailout situation would instead cause more bailouts. It advocates for less regulation of the financial services industry, even thought it's widely accepted that lack of oversight was key to the economic meltdown.
Locally, KUSA/9News was brave enough to take on one of their advertisers and put it through a truth test that didn't go so well for ad backers. Interestingly, the other TV stations have been mute on the matter, enabling their viewers to be less than fully informed. We are eager to see KCNC and KMGH step up and set the record straight, as well.
Here are the facts: The legislation pending in Washington calls for creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Among other provisions designed to protect consumers, this agency would have the power to identify struggling financial institutions (those previously considered "too big to fail") and safely dissolve them while minimizing damage to economic security and precluding a need for any bailout. It's a prudent step given the disaster our economy suffered during the past couple of years thanks to unregulated financial institutions.
Everyone paying attention the last two years knows Wall Street bankers and their reckless practices and risky investments almost destroyed our economy. Billions of dollars worth of tricks and traps on high-priced credit cards, over-the-limit fees on debit cards, and abusive mortgages have cost families their homes and devastated the hard-working folks on Main Street.
If there's one thing everyone in this country should be able to agree on it is the critical need for common sense regulation of the financial industry. Scaring citizens into scuttling the financial reform that will hold Wall Street accountable and protect our economic future is reprehensible. Shame on those willing to create fear among working families and taxpayers as part of their effort to maintain the status quo.