I Hit the Mute Button

For the next six weeks we will face a plague of TV ads designed to make us vote one way or another. I usually hit the mute button on my remote when I see one coming on. But occasionally I don’t get to the remote in time and I have to suffer through the mischievous nonsense.

There is no regulation for those ads, apparently. It seems candidates and their PACs pay their money and air whatever they like, true or false.

Take the ominous sounding commercial cooked up by the Rick Scott campaign here in Florida. Scott’s company, as you might know, paid a fine of more than a billion dollars for defrauding Medicare and he still got elected governor of our wretchedly uninformed state.

So I find it ironic that he is trying to paint Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who became a Democrat so he could run against Scott, as the one who is a crooked politician.

The commercial is impressive. But it is a crock.

Here is how the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo and Jay Weaver sum it up:

With soft piano music in the background, an anonymous Republican in Gov. Rick Scott’s latest attack ad levels an explosive claim about Democrat Charlie Crist and Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.

“I got swindled by both Rothstein and Charlie,” the man says.

But not only is there no evidence to support this accusation about Crist, the Miami Herald has identified the man as Fort Lauderdale investor Dean Kretschmar — and found that he never made that allegation in his successful lawsuit to recover millions of dollars in Rothstein-related losses.

The truth is a lot less melodramatic than the commercial. According to the Herald, what really happened was that:

Rothstein showered Crist and other politicians, mostly Republicans, with tainted money that almost all of them returned after the scheme was exposed in 2009. Rothstein used his close relationships with Crist, other politicians, sports stars, and area religious and charitable leaders as an advertising tool to dupe investors.

That doesn’t make Crist a saint, of course. But if ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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