Viewpoint: Writer says to not believe everything you hear
You know the saying about you can’t believe everything you see or hear on the internet. It is becoming increasingly clear that what they say about the internet is true about campaign ads as well.
The WMC’s latest campaign ad to mislead the public concerning Scott Walker’ job creation record is a great demonstration of that truism. Though the writing on the screen has the word “potential” in small print, the announcer talks about Walker’s past record using nebulous numbers (hundreds), obviously trying to get the observer to connect the two.
In it they claim Wisconsin is unusually high in potential economic growth, making it look more like a fact than a projection – one that, according to index analyst Paul Flora of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, should not be used for state-to-state comparison. He goes on to state that predicting a state’s potential can be very volatile and “can jump wildly from one end of the relatively narrow range to the other.” Which begs the question, next month when the rating tanks, will they be reporting that as well?
The WMC’s misrepresentation is in stark contrast to the recently released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. This covered a one-year span between March 2012 and March 2013. In that report Wisconsin added 24,305 private sector jobs and had increased the rate of employment by 1.1 percent. This falls well below the national average of a 2 percent increase and places Wisconsin only 34th in private sector job growth.
In face of these disappointing federal numbers, which Walker previously called “the gold standard,” Walker and the WMC have begun citing other studies they see as more favorable to their cause, with a disregard for their validity or how they are presented.
And while I understand campaigns will use whatever numbers they want to bolster their cause, the WMC crosses the line by purposely misrepresenting the facts and misleading the public. This should remind the public that indeed they cannot believe everything they see or hear in a campaign ad.
I will let someone else write a letter about how some media outlets then take these misleading ads and report their content, without question or research, as “news.”
Fred Andrist, Rhinelander