'They are saying things that are plainly a little misleading': Fact-checking Kansas political ads
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) - You can't turn on the TV or watch a YouTube video without seeing one a political campaign ad. And many of you have asked us about just how truthful one ad or another is. Figuring out the truth in ads like that can sometimes take a bit of digging.
In addition to our own research, we spoke with two different political scientists who are watching the campaigns.
It makes three claims in support of that.
The first claim is that Schmidt supported Brownback's policies on school funding by defending the budgets in court. Our experts disagreed on whether this was the complete truth or misleading.
"I would say that if you argue that Attorney General Schmidt defended Gov. Brownback's education budget which led to cuts to K-12 education, that would be accurate," said Dr. Neal Allen , a political analyst at Wichita State University.
That's because as attorney general, it's Schmidt's job to defend the state's laws in court. But Dr. Russell Arben Fox, a political analyst from Friends University, said it's less about how factual the words themselves are and more about the impression viewers walk away with.
"It's misleading in the sense that they're presenting Derek Schmidt as a active, affirmative, contributing member of the Brownback Administration, shaping this policy and aggressively defending it," Fox explained.
In its second claim, the ad says Schmidt supported budgets under Brownback that left the state with huge debts it had to find a way to pay. Our experts called this one partially true.
"Schmidt did stand with Brownback in the sense of being part of the Republican ticket," Allen said.
"There were people that were criticizing Brownback as the bad effects of his budget policies were becoming clearer," Fox said of other Republicans at the time. "And Schmidt was never one of those people."
"But Derek Schmidt didn't vote on those budgets. He didn't sign them," Allen said, because he wasn't in the state senate anymore by then.
Point three in the ad says Schmidt agreed with Brownback in refusing funding for rural hospitals.
"That....is about Medicaid expansion," Allen said.
"We know that Schmidt is in agreement with the rest of the leadership of the...State Republican Party in opposing Medicaid expansion," Fox agreed.
Overall, they labelled this ad as partially to mostly true.
"They are not saying anything that is untrue," Fox said. "They are saying things that are plainly a little misleading."
The PAC which produced and paid for the ad, Kansas Values Institute (KVI), is based in Lawrence. It describes itself as a grassroots advocacy organization committed to mobilizing Kansans to take back their state.