This campaign season, the airwaves will be filled with more hot air than ever before.
According to a recent New York Times story, political candidates and other organizations are expected to spend around $3 billion on television ads for the 2012 race. Already in the past six months, conservatives have spend $13 million on ads — with some of them, like a recent outright lie from the Romney campaign, getting“pants on fire” ratings from the fact-checking organization PolitiFact.
So it’s probably no surprise that Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, has already been spent millions of dollars on a Solyndra ad that PolitiFact labels “mostly false”:
In its latest advertisement, a 60-second spot that has been running heavily in places across Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Virginia, an announcer repeatedly names Solyndra, the government-backed solar power company that went bankrupt and has become a focus of conservative anger over wasteful spending.
Then it suggests that Solyndra’s political ties to Democrats played a role in its winning a government loan guarantee: “Is this the change we’re supposed to believe in? Tell President Obama you shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars for political favors.”
An analysis from Kantar Media showed that in recent weeks Americans for Prosperity has already spent $2.4 million buying airtime for the advertisement, which has been broadcast nearly 4,000 times.
Even though months of investigation haven’t found any evidence of political corruption, AFP and other GOP operatives are working overtime to make Solyndra a household name outside of Washington, DC. It appears to be having an impact. Already, AFP’s ad has racked up over a million hits on YouTube since it first aired at the beginning of this month.
But let’s remember, AFP is the organization that ran ads in New Jersey claiming that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would raise electricity rates by 90%. What actually happened? A recent report found that the cap and trade program had added $1.6 billion in economic value to Northeastern states and created 16,000 jobs.
Unfortunately, that’s not what goes viral on the web.