Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Hidden Lie

The University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center's latest Political Fact Check on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race focuses not only on Mike Gableman's Willie Horton ad, but also on the most recent ad by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce that mangles the truth in what's been called the "letter from the grave" case.

The Annenberg Center spells out in considerable detail how WMC takes liberties with the facts and hypocritically ridicules Louis Butler for doing what the big business lobby says it wants all judges to do, which is adhere strictly to the constitution. But the critique doesn't touch on the more fundamental lie hidden beneath the surface.

Aside from how the truth is distorted in the letter-from-the-grave ad, the subject of the ad is itself deceptive because it conceals WMC's true motivations for wanting to influence the outcome of this year's high court race. Fighting crime appears nowhere on WMC's legislative agenda and nowhere on the group's agenda for reforming the legal system.

The reason WMC's campaign advertising fans the public's fear of violent crime is that WMC knows it can't very well square with the voters and say they want a court that will favor corporations in product liability cases or tax cases. The kingmakers at WMC know if they air an ad effectively saying "we want judges who won't hold corporations liable for defective products" or "we want a Supreme Court that won't make corporations pay the taxes they owe," the public will reject those messages.

WMC is not alone in keeping the public in the dark about the real reasons for opposing one candidate or supporting another. Not a one of the shadowy front groups has come clean and told voters what is really driving them to try to buy a seat on the Supreme Court. They know if they did they would lose.

So they spend their loot trying to scare the bejesus out of voters instead. In other words, they live a lie.

1 comment:

clyde winter said...

Good point that's gone unreported elsewhere. I have looked at the web sites for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, for the Club for Growth, and the Coalition for American Families, and none of them indicate a mission or purpose related to protecting people from violent crime.

See my analysis "Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections, Past and Future".