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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Meg Whitman's Lies Are Piling Up

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Roselle Chen |
July 2, 2010 | 12:19 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Republican Meg Whitman’s run for governor turned sloppy as her recent ad attacking Democrat Jerry Brown proved to be filled with misleading and false statements, according to Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.

Earlier Neon Tommy coverage concentrated on FAIL Blog, a website where users rate pictures and videos of people or things showing some form of idiocy. Whitman’s ad displayed a fabricated screenshot of Brown with the word “FAIL” written across his face, misrepresenting the site.

In addition to the fake picture, FactCheck highlighted four claims within the ad that centered on Brown’s shortcomings in relation to crime, the school system, pollution and jobs.

The ad said that crime grew exponentially while Brown was mayor of Oakland. FactCheck sourced the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports to show that crime, in fact, went down by an overall 13 percent while Brown was mayor.

The ad also claimed that Brown had done so much damage to the school system that the state had to force a takeover.

“In California, the school district is a separate government elected directly by the people and it makes its own decisions; the mayor has absolutely no control of an independent school district,” said Brown.

FactCheck confirmed Brown’s claim, citing the California School Boards Association, which meant that Brown did not have the means or the power to run the school system to the ground, as Whitman’s ad previously stated.

The ad highlighted Brown’s support of a pharmaceutical company that produced radioactive waste. Brown, at the time, sat on the board of the corporation but was not directly involved with an FDA case against the company’s subsidiary that was later settled.

Whitman’s ad also stated that Brown would rather export California’s jobs to China, but that claim is still unproven. The allegation was based on an 18-year-old article published by the San Francisco Examiner that said Brown was in China to set up operations for the pharmaceutical company previously mentioned. Brown immediately denied the article’s reporting and said that he went to China to set up “equity capital for investment in California.”

Although the ad contained some truth, like how Brown’s position as governor in 1982 left California with an unemployment rate of 11 percent, it’s hard to differentiate the truth between the falsehoods and the misrepresentations. By the same example, even though the unemployment rate was 11 percent in California the national unemployment rate at the time was 10.8 percent, according to FactCheck.


To reach reporter Roselle Chen, click here.



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