Ohio Papers: McCain’s “Celeb” Ad? “Zero” Truth

A group of newspapers in Ohio (a Battleground State, you recall) is rating campaign ads on a scale* of 0 to 10 (0 being “misleading” and 10 “truthful”). These papers (The Plain Dealer ” in cooperation with” The Canton Repository, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News) give McCain’s “Celeb” ad (in which images of Obama, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton intermingle) a “0,” commenting, in part, “Lu]mping Obama with Spears and Hilton - two celebrities who have not exactly comported themselves in public in a Mother Teresa-like manner - seems like a dubious comparison” before also untangling some of the issue-based claims in the ad.

*In looking at other ads recently evaluated, it seems the scale used to be (sometimes still is?) a “Sniff Test,” which an ad can pass “on the nose,” raise “a whiff of doubt,” or, seemingly worst of all (and without a nod to noses), be stamped as “stretching the truth.” All a worthy effort, but I think it would help to keep the scale consistent.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.