One of the benefits of this campaign season coming to a close is that we won't continue to be bombarded with TV commercials drenched in lies and distortion. The closer it got to Tuesday's election, it seemed, the bolder the lies became.
Much has been made of the racially tinged commercial in which a White actress claims to have met Harold Ford Jr. at a Playboy party. The ad ends with the woman, with only a necklace visible, pretending to be holding a phone, saying, "Harold, call me."
FactCheck.org, the Web site that serves as a credible referee for all of the political charges and countercharges, provides us with other examples of false political claims in Ford's unsuccessful Senate race in Tennessee and other campaigns.
Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker's campaign teamed up with the national Republican Senate campaign to produce a TV commercial that proclaimed, "…Congressman Ford voted against reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act, which protects us from terrorists. He voted to cut defense spending by 16 percent. Just who does he think is going to provide our security? And get this, Congressman Ford even voted to let liberal judges release felons from jail because of overcrowding..."
FactCheck.org noted, "It's true, as the ad says, that Ford voted in favor of an amendment proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus that would have cut defense spending by over 16 percent for fiscal 2001, directing the additional funds to education and working-class family safety-net programs.
"What the announcer doesn't tell us is that Ford cast the vote in 2000, before the attack on the World Trade Center or the beginning of hostilities in Iraq; the date of the vote does appear in fine print at the bottom of screen, where you can see it if you squint hard."
The watchdog site stated, "Since 9/11, Ford has supported rapid increases in defense spending for the war and national security, voting, for example, in favor of the fiscal 2006 defense-spending bill, as well as the 2003 emergency supplemental funding bill. The ad also doesn't mention that on the same day he voted for the amendment, Corker cites, Ford voted in favor of an amendment that would have increased military spending, though only .7 percent, which isn't enough to keep up with inflation."
As for the claim that Ford "voted to let liberal judges release felons from jail because of overcrowding," again the ad misstates the facts. The reference was to a bill introduced by Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, that would have prevented judges from exercising their right to release prisoners in overcrowded state facilities back into society.
Perhaps the most egregious commercial was sponsored by the Republican National Committee and aired against Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who had been one of the staunchest supporters of the war in Iraq until recent months.
This is what Murtha said: "Every one of our allies think that the United States being in Iraq is more dangerous to world stability and world peace, every one of our allies, Great Britain, every single country, they think it's, we're more dangerous to world peace than North Korea or Iran. That says something."
In the Republican National Committee ad, Murtha is made to say: "We're more dangerous to world peace than North Korea or Iran."
The monitoring group says, "…In this case the Republican National Committee manages to present Murtha as seeming to say nearly the exact opposite of what he actually said."
This election went beyond the usual mudslinging. It was downright nasty.
George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and BlackPressUSA.com.