Greater Wisconsin Committee getting away with deception

As pointed out here, Greater Wisconsin Committee is making some hefty claims in an anti-Walker ad regarding the effects of AB 10 on education in Wisconsin.  Seems at least one TV station attempted to look into these claims.

The liberal advocacy group the Greater Wisconsin Committee is spending tens of thousands of dollars on ads in the Green Bay television market criticizing Governor Scott Walker.

According to the government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the group is heavily funded by unions and wealthy, pro-Democrat business interests.

The group’s ads focus mostly on the impact of Walker’s budget on education and highlight a few key stats, including a claim there are 3,368 fewer educators in the state now and that classes are overcrowded.

Where are they getting that information? It came from a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on November 10. The release highlights a survey conducted by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators to gauge the impact of the budget. The full report was released five days later.

What about some of the most inflammatory claims in the ads? Are there really places that have 47 kids in one classroom or a classroom where there aren’t enough tables or chairs so students have to sit on the floor?

FOX 11 On Special Assignment contacted the state Department of Public Instruction to find out if they had heard of districts with that type of overcrowding. A spokesman said increased class sizes “could lead to overcrowding.” But the DPI “does not collect data specific to this.”

They told us to contact the group behind the ad, which we did.

We asked the Greater Wisconsin Committee to tell us where there are 47 students in a class and where students are sitting on the floor. To this point, the group has refused to tell us.

A spokesperson declined our request for an interview but did give us a written statement which says in part: “We will not be releasing the names of classrooms as that would violate our commitment to the people in the ads to do whatever we can to protect them from harassment and threats by people who disagree with them politically.”

The group would not identify the districts where the apparent overcrowding is happening.

Here’s the full email response to WLUK regarding GWC refusing to provide facts with regards to these deceptive claims.

“The Greater Wisconsin Committee is not releasing the names or details of the individuals who appear in the ads.  They are all Wisconsin residents who are teachers, parents or grandparents from different communities in the state.  While their individual stories are important, they mainly serve to provide a human face to the findings of the WASDA/DPI survey.  Those facts, which are quoted and cited in the ads, are readily available for people to assess.  Unfortunately, in this heated political environment, people who have publicly disagreed with Walker’s policies have been the recipient of harassment and even threats of violence.  Releasing the names of teachers, parents, students or identifying their classrooms could expose them to similar treatment.  If groups want to criticize the ad, they are welcome to challenge the findings of the WADA/DPI study and the factual statements about Walker’s record of education cuts and tax breaks, but we will not facilitate their efforts to attack individual teachers, parents and school children.”
We will not be releasing the names of classrooms as that would violate our commitment to the people in the ads to do whatever we can to protect them from harassment and threats by people who disagree with them politically. As you know, threats have been made against people who have spoken out against Walker’s education cuts recently, so it is not easy for these people to come out and talk publicly about the situations they see in their classrooms as teachers and as the parents of students attending those schools.

As Jerry Bader pointed out this is a simply amazing response.  In short they are using actions that THEIR side subjects the supporters of Scott Walker to as a reason to not provide facts that back up these claims. Not to mention there is this belief that those appearing in the ad should be allowed to remain anonymous.
In other words at this point they are getting away making with deceptive claims since television stations across Wisconsin won’t push for proof that validates the claims GWC is making.
As for the claim that the ad was shot in Wisconsin with Wisconsinites, consider this tidbit:
I’ve learned that these ad buys were placed by an agency called Campaign Group out of Philadelphia. I checked their website; they produce ads for liberal candidates and causes.
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