Misleading Ad Tops Online Charts

A pro-Barack Obama super PAC’s controversial ad surged to the top of the online charts last week, outstripping a slew of other new spots, according to data from Visible Measures.

“Understands” — which features a steel worker who was laid off from a company owned by Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney co-founded  – had over 725,000 views in the week ended Sunday, putting it No. 1 for the week. Visible Measures said the spot’s traffic has gotten a boost from paid advertising.

The ad, from Priorities USA Action, gives the impression that the worker’s loss of his job and health insurance may be to blame for his wife’s death from cancer years later. (In an interview last week with the Journal, the worker, Joe Soptic, said that he doesn’t blame Mr. Romney for her death.)

The steel plant at the center of the ad, GST Steel, was purchased by Bain Capital in 1993 and closed in 2001. As the Journal has reported, Mr. Romney departed Bain in 1999 and had no role in the decision to close the plant, his campaign said.

In second place is “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: Back to the Failed Top-Down Policies,” an ad from the Obama campaign attacking Paul Ryan‘s plans for entitlement programs and the budget, with quick cuts between statements from Mr. Romney, political commentators, reporters and Mr. Ryan.

Another Obama campaign ad, ”The Choice“, came in at No. 3 on list after a run at the top of the chart. It was the only spot in last week’s chart to return to this week’s top 10. In the ad, President Barack Obama speaks directly to the camera and pledges his support for the middle class while criticizing Mitt Romney‘s economic policies as presaging a rerun of the George W. Bush years.

In fourth is the Obama camp’s “Son of Boss,” an ad that tries to extend the questions about Mr. Romney’s handling of financial matters to his period on the board at Marriott International, when the company used improper tax strategies. This ad also benefited from paid advertising, according to Visible Measures.

The Romney campaign finally breaks into the charts at No. 5, with its new “Be Not Afraid” ad, which accuses Mr. Obama of declaring a war on religion, and also wraps in footage of Mr. Romney meeting with Lech Walesa in Poland.

Another controversial ad, “Right Choice”  – the Romney campaign’s attack ad saying that Mr. Obama is quietly trying to roll back Clinton-era work requirements for welfare recipients — debuted at No. 6.

In all, the Obama campaign had four ads in the top 10; the Romney campaign had four ads; and liberal groups had two ads.


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