Seeing yet another negative ad from the campaign of Tom Corbett, I decided to fact check this one, because it told me it was "critical to pay attention." I paid attention, took notes, and critically checked the claims and who made them.
Have you seen this ad? It claims Tom Wolf's Fresh Start plan is going to "triple" taxes on the middle class -- a statement that has been directly refuted and proven absolutely wrong. The Corbett campaign has even been called "desperate" in "Corbett's Desperation and Deceit" on the Annenberg Center's FactCheck.org, October 15, 2014:
We've noticed that the most deceitful attack ads often come from candidates who are most desperate. For example, consider the claim by Pennsylvania's unpopular Republican Gov. Tom Corbett that his opponent 'is promising to raise middle-class taxes,' when in fact Democratic nominee Tom Wolf promises to cut them...
Amazingly the Corbett campaign continues to claim that facts are not real and that their fiction is more true, simply because they want it to be so.
And just who is the group quoted by the Corbett campaign to "prove" its claim? Meet "The Commonwealth Foundation," a self-proclaimed defender of the free market that is really just another conservative paid policy mill. The "study" consists of this group doing some ideological pontificating and then putting out a statement.
It is a fiction based on an interpretation that comes to a pre-determined ideological conclusion, and here is their big claim:
The Commonwealth Foundation, a free market think tank based in Harrisburg, did the math on Wolf's education spending plans and concluded that Pennsylvanians making more than $80,000 annually would have to pay a tax rate of 8.85 percent -- 188 percent higher than the current 3.07 percent income tax rate -- to support the estimated $4.6 billion in new spending Wolf is proposing.
Oh, so they "did the math" and "concluded" that some Pennsylvanians "would have to pay" more tax on "estimated" new spending. That is one magical math formula, to be able to take their point of view and quantify it in an equation. I wonder if they'd be willing to share how they did it? It might just get them a Nobel Prize for magical thinking.
In addition this ad quotes "The Mercury guest columnist." I kid you not, that is my favorite thing about the ad. Quoting some anonymous -- and very likely planted -- op-ed as if it were objective proof is simply the icing on this silly cake. If that is the best the Corbett campaign can do, let me be the first to congratulate Governor Wolf.
Sadly, too many people seem to think campaign ads are news. They fail to recognize the rhetoric, or in some cases the outright lies. In this case, it is easy to spot the slanted and unsubstantiated ideological claim.