NBC Affiliate Tries Playing Defense For Dem House Candidate, Fails Miserably

March 24th, 2011 4:11 PM

While NB usually focuses on the national news media, sometimes a local news segment is just so brazenly biased that it merits at least a mention.

A local NBC News affiliate in New York decided it would fact-check a National Republican Congressional Committee attack ad aimed at Kathy Hochul, the Democratic candidate for the congressional seat left vacant by former Rep. Chris Lee (R). The segment, which called some NRCC claims "false" and others "misleading," is such a transparent - and poor - attempt to provide cover for Hochul that Townhall's Guy Benson wondered whether it was "the worst 'fact check' ever" (though he decided that honor should go to Politifact).

Check out the ad in question - and NBC2's attempt at rebuttal - below the break.

Here is NBC2's fact-check segment:

Benson breaks down the segment's "findings":

Wooten says the ad is "false right off the top" because it insinuates Hochul is a Washington Lobbyist. The truth: She was a lobbyist in DC, but isn't any more. Busted! Except...the commercial doesn't say Hochul is an active lobbyist. In fact, it clearly indicates just the opposite. Wooten conveniently clips the footage right before the voiceover explains how the Democrat "learned how to tax and spend as a Washington lobbyist, and she's been taxing and spending ever since." Based on my rudimentary grasp of the english language, "learned" is in the past tense, and "ever since" generally refers back to a previous incident or action.

"As most of us know, Hochul doesn't even live in the nation's capital," Wooten snidely reports. That's correct, as evidenced by the Buffalo, New York street address depicted in the ad itself.

Next, our intrepid truth squad blows the lid off of several additional "misleading at best" claims in the spot. The script "misleads" viewers by suggesting that as a local and county executive, Hochul voted "to raise fees on all kinds of things," including playing golf and owning a dog.

The verdict: It turns out that Hochul did, in fact, vote to raise fees on golfing -- but only on public courses. And the vote was unanimous. And ("the kicker") it was supported by a citizens' group. Busted! Although the NRCC claim may be absolutely true, Wooten admonishes his audience, what drags it into "misleading at best" territory is the omission of some barely germane (at best!) context.

What about the "misleading" claim that Hochul raised fees on dog ownership? Lay your righteous truthiness on us, Michael: "Hochul did vote to impose a dog licensing fee in 2004," but it was required by the state and was lower than a similar fee in a neighboring town. Busted! Thank heavens NBC2 is "on our side." Without their convoluted "fact check," I might have come to the conclusion that the candidate had done...precisely what she did.

Thank God for the Fourth Estate, huh?