NBC's Todd Relays Democratic Talking Points On GOP Ads

NBC's Chuck Todd, on Friday's Today, played defense for the Democrats as he relayed their spin on political commercials, noting that "outside independent groups, mostly Republican, are benefitting from the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows big corporate donors to spend unlimited money, in some cases anonymously, on political advertising." Todd even played several clips of the President going after those ads, but never offered a countering soundbite from a Republican.

Todd also found time to highlight a Democratic complaint about an ad that dared to use actors instead of real people, as he pointed out a commercial against Democratic Senate candidate and current governor of West Virginia Joe Manchin drew the ire of Dems because it featured actors "hired by a Philadelphia talent agency looking for a quote, 'hicky blue collar look'."

First up Todd set the table for the President to slam independent groups as "a threat to democracy" but failed to mention that he himself -- as reported in a Washington Post story headlined Obama Accepted Untraceable Donations -- benefitted from anonymous contributions back in 2008.

CHUCK TODD: This year outside independent groups, mostly Republican, are benefitting from the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows big corporate donors to spend unlimited money, in some cases anonymously, on political advertising. Often using non-controversial sounding names-

(Begin ad clip)

ANNOUNCER: Americans for Job Security is responsible for the content of this advertising.

(End clip)

TODD: -something the President made fun of.

OBAMA: They've got names like Americans for Prosperity or the Committee for Truth in Politics, or Moms for Motherhood. Actually that last one I made up.

TODD: But for Democrats getting outspent in Senate and House races across the country it's a serious concern.

OBAMA: This is a threat to our democracy! The American people deserve to know who's trying to sway their elections!

The following excerpt is from the Todd story as it was aired on the October 8 Today show:

CHUCK TODD: Earlier the President was in Maryland campaigning for Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley. But Maryland politics was not on the President's mind. This year outside independent groups, mostly Republican, are benefitting from the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows big corporate donors to spend unlimited money, in some cases anonymously, on political advertising. Often using non-controversial sounding names-

(Begin ad clip)

ANNOUNCER: Americans for Job Security is responsible for the content of this advertising.

(End clip)

TODD: -something the President made fun of.

OBAMA: They've got names like Americans for Prosperity or the Committee for Truth in Politics, or Moms for Motherhood. Actually that last one I made up.

TODD: But for Democrats getting outspent in Senate and House races across the country it's a serious concern.

OBAMA: This is a threat to our democracy! The American people deserve to know who's trying to sway their elections!

[On screen headline: "Race To November, GOP Ad Pulled After Controversial Casting Call"]

(Begin ad clip)

MAN: Obama is messing things up.

(End clip)

TODD: And Democrats now also want you to know who's really appearing in these ads.

(Begin ad clip)

MAN: And Joe Manchin supported it all.

(End clip)

TODD: The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee just pulled this ad, which was running in West Virginia featuring three actors playing West Virginians at a diner attacking Democrat Joe Manchin.

(Begin clip)

MAN: It's the only way we're gonna stop Obama.

(End clip)

TODD: It turns out the actors weren't from West Virginia, they were hired by a Philadelphia talent agency looking for a quote: "hicky blue collar look."...The uproar over the word "hicky" prompted the Republicans to pull the ad. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "No one at the NRSC or associated with the NRSC had anything to do with the language used in this casting call, we do not support it." Now of course the use of actors in political advertising is not new, it was the actual way that word "hicky" that, of course, made the Republicans have to pull that ad because of how it plays in West Virginia.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.