The three worst political ads of 2014

The election season is still young, but with important primary contests being decided Tuesday now is an ideal time to take stock of the most misbegotten Michigan political spots of 2014. Since January, the Michigan Truth Squad has given “flagrant fouls” to three ads for their detailed attention to smears, hypocracy or inaccuracy.

  • There was the charming ad  put out by congressional hopeful Brian Ellis calling Republican opponent Justin Amash “Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress.”
  • The Republican Governor’s Association won its flagrant foul for a 30-second attack on Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer. The spot chastised Schauer for supporting state fees on nursing home beds, while failing to mention that the fees would return more federal dollars to nursing homes than the homes would pay out. Oh, it also failed to mention that Schauer’s opponent, Rick Snyder, supported (and even extended) the same fee.
  • Finally, there was the much-discussed Julie Boonstra ad, sponsored by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity which, on closer examination, was unable to support the cancer patient’s central claim that the new health insurance she received under Obamacare was unaffordable.

As campaigns head toward November, Truth Squad will continue to analyze political speech and help Michigan residents identify questionable claims, whether they appear in TV or print ads, speeches, news releases, robo calls, mailings, websites or on social media.

As always, we need your help. If you spot a political claim that raises questions, send the information our way, with supporting documents if possible. Allow Truth Squad to do the rest.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Le Roy G. Barnett
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:34am
Please note that the worst ads were all by Republicans. There is a lesson here for those who care enough to go to the polls.
Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:18pm
Does it surprise you the " Bridge" website choose 3 Republican adds?!? I bet Fox News found 3 Democratic adds.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:41am
With enough money you can buy up the air waves and the paper with lies and worse yet half truths. If you are for big business and the wealthy keep voting for the republicans. R.L.
Pat Caldie
Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:41pm
The Republicans are the party of millionaires. The Democrats are the party of billionaires. Check out the Hollywood , Pro Athletes, Silicone Valley and other major donors to the Dems. As an independent, I wish they would limit the amount spent on campaigning. Unfortunately both parties are controlled by "money."
Paul Massaron
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 11:19am
Signs may not qualify but a state rep candidate up near Milford (who I think may be a Republican even though his sign does not say) demonstrates that he has a sense of humor. His name is Garlick and his sign says: "Everything is better with Garlick "...on it. There should be an award for humor. I am not sure what voter group he is appealing to but it sure is persuasive.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:17pm
Great to see that Republicans are finally striking back.
Jack Minore
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:39pm
I would like BRIDGE to check the ad that admonishes Schauer for supporting 40 tax increases while in the Legislature. I think that all or almost all of them were increases that passed under a Republican controlled legislature.
Janet Vandenabeele
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 1:18pm
Oh, that.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 1:06pm
Michigan people (actually every American) had better get out and vote. It is our only defense against Karl Rove and the Koch brothers using their billions of dollars to buy our democracy. Let's show them they are wasting their money and not let voter ID and all the other schemes they use to prevent folks from voting deter us from saving our democracy. They don't even live in Michigan so why are they here bothering us. Oh, wait, I know! They want to get our US congress - both houses- Republican so they can control the tax codes so they don't have to pay taxes. There are already enough "bought" folks in congress to do their bidding. If we lose the senate to the GOP, we may not be able to recover. So GET OUT AND VOTE or be sorry!
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 2:32pm
See you at the polls tomorrow. Maybe a few days respite from the ads? Hope, hope I actually have been turned away from a candidate based on his ads.
Pat Mattes
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 9:55pm
I feel the same way. The ads have turned me away from 2 candidates.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 3:53pm
Our campaign regrets that voter guides are not generally read/studied. If that were the norm, ads might not be so bothersome. Of course then the guides may not be as reliable.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 3:55pm
Here in Traverse City we just got a phone call from someone claiming to be Barack Obama. He went on to tell us who NOT to vote for. Unfortunately we were so amazed we did not catch who we were not supposed to vote for. It wasn't until the very end of the call that the person said that he was a celebrity voice impersonator.
Tue, 08/05/2014 - 3:24am
This has to be the most hilariously ridiculous campaign tactic ever. Did you get the sense if he was getting paid to make the calls, or if he was doing it as a prank just for fun on his own time?
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:40pm
Everyone should read who is putting out the attack ads and if it ia from the republican governors association or americans for prosperity then just ignore the ads as lies.
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 11:43pm
Wow! What an incredible coincidence! All three of the ads criticized by the "Center" for Michigan are for Republicans! Thanks for pretending to be neutral, guys!
David Zeman
Tue, 08/05/2014 - 10:11am
Jack, We call each ad as we see them, and we don't employ a quota system. If you are a steady reader of Truth Squad you will see that we've called fouls on claims backing both Dems and Republicans. You might also note that one of these three flagrant ads was AGAINST a Republican candidate. If you believe there has been an ad by Dem backers that rose to a flagrant foul, we'd be happy to review as always. I'm sure as we head toward November we'll see more FF candidates on both sides. David Zeman Bridge Editor
Doug Johnson
Tue, 08/05/2014 - 7:06am
Center? Hardly. Waste of time
Tue, 08/05/2014 - 8:24am
In addition to the trustworthy information from Bridge go to the League of Women Voters site VOTE411 for nonpartisan info about candidates positions - then VOTE
Ken McFarlane
Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:29pm
The commentators from the Right who are dismissing the Bridge's ratings present no evidence or argument to support their well-developed indignation. They simply say that your results (three Republicans winning the sleaze prizes) mean that you are biased and therefore should be dismissed. They do not challenge the substance of any of your evalautions or provide more egregious Democratic ads. I wish they'd apply this kind of thinking to their analysis of Fox News.
Robert Van Lente
Fri, 08/08/2014 - 9:17am
Speaking of truth: Brian Ellis' ads never called Justin Amash “Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress.” They did report, truthfully, that a fellow member in the House called Amash “Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress.”
Mon, 08/11/2014 - 11:16pm
Voters beware: the ones with the most money, for the most commercials on television and radio are probably the ones to be most suspect. Media doesn't care about "content" or "truth" when they are talking to someone with a very thick checkbook!