Local political attack ads funded by national money
Ads against Scott Peters, Brian Bilbray graded
Last Updated: 248 days ago
SAN DIEGO - The Civility Campaign Project grades political ads, and with less than two months until the general election, the three-member panel looked at attack ads aimed at Brian Bilbray, the Republican incumbent for the 52nd Congressional District, and Scott Peters, the Democrat who is challenging him.
First, the panel looked at an anti-Bilbray ad that said, "Whoever Bilbray's working for, he's not working for you." The ad pointed to his work history as a negative, saying, "For 36 years, Brian Bilbray has either been a politician or a lobbyist."
That language is something the Civility Campaign Project judges objected to across the board.
"Buzz words like that are used to stir up the emotions and [so] detracts, we think, from the civility of it," explained John Beatty, a former journalist who has covered San Diego politics since 1957.
The panel, which also includes political science professor Carl Luna and former Assemblyman Jeff Marston, did give the ad high marks for being relevant and, while hard to follow at times, truthful.
The average grade for the anti-Bilbray ad: A-minus.
The attack ad against Bilbray was paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which was no surprise. What was surprising is that a national political action group would invest in the 52nd District race.
"This one's in play and the registration has changed enough that what used to be a strictly Republican district has now gotten much closer. It could go either way," said Beatty.
That same unprecedented national PAC investment can be seen with a recent anti-Peters ad that says, "Peters approved fraudulent bond disclosures."
The ad was paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
While the panel gave the ad high marks for being truthful and relevant, pointing to Peters' role in the San Diego retirement benefit scandal, the three judges thought the ad was not altogether reasonable.
"Fair, but the judges are concerned the commercial ignores the fact he admitted his mistakes and worked to correct them," said Beatty.
The average grade for the anti-Peters ad: A-minus.
For a breakdown of the two ads by the three-member panel, click here.
Learn more about the panel's grading system by clicking here.
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