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Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Sheppard Misleads on Robo-Calls
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claims that "the media have been wrongly depicting" the use of "robo-calls" by political candidates "as exclusively being a Republican strategy, while ignoring the Democrat campaigns that are doing exactly the same thing."

But it's misleading for Sheppard to focus on the general use of robo-calls -- a strategy both parties use; the debate is over certain tactics used in them. The only relevant counter-example Sheppard cites in response to a CNN report claiming that the National Republican Congressional Committee was making robo-calls in which the message didn't identify the caller at the top of the call and include a phone number -- both required by the FCC -- is a robo-call against Montana Sen. Conrad Burns made by "the international firefighters union’s political action committee." But an independent PAC is not the same thing as a direct party operation, which the NRCC is.

Further, the CNN report Sheppard cited also noted the deceptive tactic of making the listener think at the start of the call that it's from one candidate when in fact it's from the other, and of making multiple calls to residences. Sheppard offers no examples of Democrats being accused of those tactics.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EST

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