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Sen. Bill Nelson to Fla. TV stations: Don't air U.S. Chamber ad

Laywers for Sen. Bill Nelson have written to Florida TV stations asking them not to air an ad that includes a false claim about Medicare cuts.

From a news release: In the wake of the recent Citizens United case, in which the Supreme Court allowed unlimited and undisclosed corporate money to be spent on such ads, TV stations have a greater responsibility to protect the public from the spread of false and deceptive information, Kendall Coffey, a lawyer for Nelson wrote in a letter to the stations today.

“On behalf of our client, we respectfully insist that you take this inaccurate ad off the air immediately,” Coffey wrote.  “As a media outlet, this station has a duty to protect the public from the spread of false information and deliberate deception.

The U.S. Chamber announced the 30-second ad last week and it repeats a widely used Republican claim that Democrats cut $500 billion from Medicare. It wasn't a cut, according toPolitifact. It was a reduction in future growth (the size of the Medicare program will increase dollar-wise).

The letter is below.

Following is the text of the letter:
 
May 14, 2012
Via email: rpegram@wfts.com
 
Rich Pegram
WFTS-TV, Tampa
 
            Re:  Senator Bill Nelson
 
Dear Mr. Pegram:
 
            We represent Sen. Bill Nelson.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has bought time on your station for an ad that is seriously misleading and relies on a false assertion concerning Bill's Senate record.
 
            Specifically, the ad says: “… seniors will see $500 billion in Medicare cuts to fund Obamacare.”
  
Just last Friday, FactCheck.org, a non-partisan, non-profit consumer advocate project with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, examined this ad and reported: “Chamber Continues To Mislead On Healthcare Law.”  In addition, the Pulitzer Prize-winning,  independent non-profit organization PolitiFact has reported a number of times that the claim is “false.” 
 
I am enclosing links to the findings of these independent fact-checking organizations.  
  
            On behalf of our client, we respectfully insist that you take this inaccurate ad off the air immediately.  As a media outlet, this station has a duty to protect the public from the spread of false information and deliberate deception. 
 
            Sincerely,
 
            Kendall Coffey
            Abigail Parent

--ALEX LEARY

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