MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new campaign ad from Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen is generating a lot of comments from WCCO’s viewers, and questions about whether the ad is legal.
That’s because WCCO-TV’s own Pat Kessler is actually featured in the ad, edited in a way that makes it seem as though he’s endorsing Paulsen’s attacks on Democratic candidate Dean Phillips.
Kessler reported that it is a “wildly out-of-context ad,” which took what he actually said and edited it to make it sound like he said something different.
The ad’s narrator says “Millionaire Dean Phillips slashes health care for nurses. He can’t be trusted.” That’s immediately followed by a clip of Kessler saying, “Because he says one thing and doesn’t do it.”
This is the kind of ad where the spin doctors take one kernel of truth, exaggerate it, and then twist it into something completely unrecognizable, Kessler says.
The clip they took stemmed from a Reality Check Kessler did on Paulsen’s claim that Phillips doesn’t offer health care to his own employees. It’s a personal attack on Phillips, because he called it a moral right, but did not offer it to his part-time workers when he opened his coffee shop business two years ago.
Kessler’s full quote: “It was true at the time, but it’s not true anymore. He pays full-time employees, just not part-time employees. Here is the kicker: Dean Phillips says that health care is a moral right, so Erik Paulsen is going after him because he says one thing but doesn’t do it. So there’s a lot to unpack with this.”
As to whether this is legal, Kessler says journalists don’t like it when politicians do this, but it happens all the time. They don’t ask news organizations. And, yes, it is legal. It’s called “fair use.”
Here are the facts about Dean Phillips:
- Phillips does give health care to all his full-time coffee shop employees.
- Like most U.S. companies, he does not offer health care to part-time workers.
- He pays part-time workers $15 an hour plus tips, far above the normal wage.