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Facebook appears to be earning its reputation as evil

Monday, Oct 16, 2017

* Facebook ad…

The Christian County Republican Party is run by Seth McMillan, who you will recall announced he would run against Sen. Andy Manar last week.

The article referenced in the ad is about the ComEd bill. Trouble is, Manar voted against the ComEd bill.

If this was a TV or radio ad, Manar would likely be able to get it taken down. Facebook has been another story. The ad has been running for weeks. Manar even tried running an ad to counter the false GOP ad, but that ad was taken down.

* Here’s how Manar described the process to me today…

Our paid ad referencing the fake Christian County Republican ad was approved by Facebook. We simply posted a screenshot of the rollcall of the bill where there is an “N” by my name and a screenshot of the Christian County Republican paid ad. Then about one day into the schedule for our paid ad, Facebook sent us a message saying that our ad violated their policy of paid advertising referencing another paid ad. And then took the step of suspending our ad while the Christian County Republican ad continued.

That’s insane.

* Manar sent a blast e-mail about the ad early this morning…

As a father, my children know the rule: If you make a mistake, you own up to it. Don’t lie about it. My kids know that, if they lie (especially if they design a lie purposefully) they have no choice but to admit it and apologize.

It’s hard to say, “I’m sorry. I lied.” But truth is nearly always inescapable.

For weeks now, central Illinois Facebook users have been peppered with ads lying about my position on a multi-billion-dollar bailout for the energy corporation Exelon. Paid for by the Christian County Republican Party, the ad accuses me of voting to give Exelon the okay to impose the largest energy rate increase in U.S. history. That increase comes both at the expense of rate-payers and coal-fired plants and the workforce that relies on good jobs.

Here’s the problem, I didn’t vote for the bailout. I voted AGAINST it. The truth is, the Christian County GOP propaganda team is lying.

With more than a year before the 2018 election, Christian County GOP bosses are clearly willing to engage in fake news, false facts and flat-out lies. Blatantly lying about my record should offend everyone – Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike.

Politics is always riddled with embellishments. But the families and citizens of central Illinois are decent, honest, hardworking people. They have every right to be offended and turned-off when they’re lied to. Many of them are.

Make no mistake, millions of dollars are geared up to defeat me in the next election. Big-money opponents don’t like our ability to bring average, hard-working people together - Democrats and Republicans alike. There’s a desperation to use anything to break down the bipartisan approach we’ve found successful. For whatever reason, our success at compromise to make central Illinois better, is a threat worth lying about.

So, unfortunately, we can expect more lies and far more personal attacks.

That’s why your active support is so critically important. When my team sees lies, I need your help to respond to them. When we’re attacked without merit, your willingness to help set the record straight is critical.

If you’re interested in helping us, I encourage you to follow our campaign’s Facebook page so you can help call out fake news and phony claims.

I’m not expecting the Christian County GOP leaders to say to the citizens of central Illinois, “I’m sorry. I lied to you.” As a father, however, I’ll forever expect my children to reject the impulse to lie.

–Andy

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    Lean in to the fake news, Facebook.


  2. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    It’s little wonder that fake news from Russia took root in social media.


  3. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Shamelessness is a political superpower.

    – MrJM


  4. - PJ - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    They need to be held to the same standard as every other type of media in which one can take out a paid ad. It’s amazing they’ve been able to live a regulation (and truth) free world essentially since their inception.


  5. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    If only Decatur had a newspaper….


  6. - Signal and Noise - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    If FB doesn’t get ahead of this problem, they are going to leave themselves wide open for federal regulation.


  7. - Anon221 - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    If the Christian County GOP doesn’t take down their fake news, that leaves a big opening for Manar to use it in print and TV ads to show how fake it is. In this era of fake news investigations, and as 2018 heats up, the CCGOP might want to really think on leaving that post up. “They Lied” could actually be a good campaign strategy.


  8. - former southerner - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    Doesn’t the Christian County GOP know that it isn’t “Christian” to lie???


  9. - Anon312 - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    This Manar guy continues to impress me.


  10. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    Could Andy Manar sue for defamation of character?


  11. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    Yeah, but this post neglects to mention one very salient point - lying to voters is what the Christian County R’s do. This is what they always have done, flat out lie about everything. They know their base voters aren’t smart enough to figure it out, or are lazy enough not to call them on it.

    If they weren’t doing this on Facebook, they would be doing it (and probably will be doing it next year) everywhere they know they can get away with it. Local AM radio ads, small town newspaper print ads, direct mailers - Manar can complain all he wants to these entities, and they’ll respond with “we’ll look into it” and continue to run whatever the local GOP provides them. The only difference here is that Facebook won’t give Manar lip service about doing something to solve the problem.


  12. - illini97 - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    So, is facebook going to continue this mantra that they are but an independent platform, devoid of any ability to influence elections?

    They’re overdue for regulation on how they treat political ads, just as other media must work within regulation.


  13. - CowMan11 - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    I can’t believe here we are once again staring at the GOP ready to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Manar. Yes, some of his votes have driven some of his constituents crazy but he’s seen by those same constituents as honest and trustworthy because he doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. He will never be out-worked. They are NEVER going to beat him. Lie away GOP!


  14. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    I guess Honesty is a four letter word in Christian County?


  15. - pawn - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Illinois GOP should do the right thing and call on their local to take down the fake ad.


  16. - Northsider - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 4:24 pm:

    At what point does that ad become libelous? And what exposure does FB have if it does?


  17. - RIJ - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    Just another reason, among many, to be glad that I never got involved with the horror show that is Facebook


  18. - RNUG - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 5:15 pm:

    Having dealt with FB a couple of to message, Andy needs to see if the image used is subject to copyright. FB jumps all over copyright complaints and the poster is guilty until proven innocent.


  19. - DH_Cohen - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 5:22 pm:

    Can you post a link to the ad so we can see it live?


  20. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 5:45 pm:

    Lots of hand wringing about FB, which is just.

    But the real evil here is the CCGOP and McMillan. It’s pretty awful that we live in a time when blatant, provable falsehoods just get a shrug. It’s abominable that people will lie - not just stretch the truth, but flat out lie - to get elected. I mean, seriously, what’s a person of honor supposed to do anymore. Why not just check out?


  21. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 5:49 pm:

    I’m a Dem. I hope that if/when Democrats do this, it gets called out as well. That said, it feels to me like Republicans do this more, and we already know they’re trying to disenfranchise voters across the country with voter id laws and this federal commission.

    When your ideas fail, I guess this is what you do if you’re morally bereft. And to anyone who says “not all Republicans” let me just say, anyone who votes for one owns them all. ALL. Including 45, including Rauner, including this McMillan character.

    This wasn’t a blindside that just happened in the last year. This has been an ongoing strategy for the GOP since Newt. Look at your coalition. Until you start kicking out the bad apples, the whole bunch is ruined, including you.


  22. - JoanP - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 5:52 pm:

    Interesting.

    Manar is clearly a public figure, so Sullivan vs. NYT applies. He’d have to prove that the statement was made “with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false”. Seems as though here that wouldn’t be much of a hurdle.

    The question is whether Manar would be able to prove damages. That could be hard.


  23. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Oct 16, 17 @ 10:14 pm:

    It’s never worked out well for a politician to try to sue someone for libel related to their public office.

    Aside from the very high risk of losing, it still sends a message that you are willing to try to silence someone at all costs. That’s not a good persona for a public official.

    Even if you win, you lose.


  24. - Dave W - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I just looked at their FB page, and they took the ad down 10 days ago, with an apology. I don’t see why Manar waited 10 days after it was removed to send out the email blast.


  25. - Mac C - Tuesday, Oct 17, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    I just checked the FB page as well and see the same thing Dave W mentioned, an admission of providing incorrect information.

    Why would Andy send such an e-mail blast this morning calling out the CCR for not owning up to their mistake if they already had?


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