A Washington-based education foundation that promotes accountability and integrity in government, politics and law has revealed that American taxpayers had to pay more than $3 million for a series of ads featuring actor Andy Griffith promoting Obamacare that even the left-leaning FactCheck.org confirmed were misleading.
“Taxpayers don’t want their money wasted on propaganda for Obamacare. And it is a scandal that an Obama insider is involved in the contract for these misleading ads,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
“Taxpayers and Congress should be upset the Obama administration wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on this propaganda campaign at a time when the government desperately needs to tighten its belt. Even Barney Fife would see that these Obamacare ads are bogus.”
One of the ads has been made the target of a satirical presentation here:
Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch Inc. is a constitutionally conservative, nonpartisan foundation that promotes transparency and accountability in government. It routinely pursues through the courts details about government operations.
According to a new report, documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services about the three ads featuring Griffith reveal the government spent $3.184 million in taxpayer funds to produce and air them.
The goal was to educate Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members “about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”
But Judicial Watch reported, “Mr. Griffith is featured in three Medicare television ads and provided his services to the government at no charge pursuant to a gratuitous services agreement. These three spots, ’1965,’ ‘Music to My Ears,’ and ‘Cozy Chair,’ are only airing in September and October 2010. The production for the three advertisements cost $404,000; the total amount budgeted for the national media placement is $2.78 million, which breaks down per ad to $754,000 (’1965′), $1,112,000 (‘Music to My Ears’), and $1,390,000 (‘Cozy Chair’).”
Judicial Watch said the Obama White House has touted, “The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] will strengthen the health care system for all Americans, but senior citizens in particular stand to benefit from the new law. And the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting a little help delivering the good news from a well-known TV star: Andy Griffith.”
But FactCheck.org said accuracy isn’t a strong part of that campaign.
The organization, funded by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, said, “Would the sheriff of Mayberry mislead you about Medicare? Alas, yes. In a new TV spot from the Obama administration, actor Andy Griffith, famous for his 1960s portrayal of the top law enforcement official in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., touts benefits of the new health care law. Griffith tells his fellow senior citizens, ‘like always, we’ll have our guaranteed [Medicare] benefits.’ But the truth is that the new [Obamacare] law is guaranteed to result in benefit cuts for one class of Medicare beneficiaries — those in private Medicare Advantage plans.”
The organization explained that the Obama administration used a “weasel word”
“The answer is that the term ‘guaranteed’ is a weasel word – a qualifier that sucks the meaning out of a phrase in the way that weasels supposedly suck the contents out of an egg. It may sound to the casual listener as though this ad is saying that the benefits of all Medicare recipients are guaranteed to stay the same – and that may well be the way the ad’s sponsors wish listeners to hear it. But what the administration is really saying is that only those benefits that are guaranteed in law will remain the same.”
Fitton told WND that Obama was trying to shore up public support for Obamacare and simply resorted to disinformation.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also noted that an Obama insider, Catherine McLean, contributed 21 hours of her time to the project.
The documents explain she’s on the staff of the Porter Novelli public relations firm.
She appeared as an on-air surrogate for the Obama for American campaign, and currently is the senior partner and managing director for Porter Novelli, the documents revealed.