Attorney General candidate White alters TV news report to attack opponent

Republican Attorney General candidate Frank White’s campaign apparently altered a clip of a TV news report and then used it in a campaign ad to push an attack on his opponent that has been fact checked as false.

The campaign commercial uses a clip (watch here) from a WESH-TV news report that was fact checking White’s claim that opponent Ashley Moody is a lifelong Democrat. The commercial appears to alter the news report by removing words and changing the full context of the report.

The White commercial uses WESH reporter Greg Fox saying, “It’s true Ashley Moody was registered Democrat.” However the full sentence from the news report (watch here) says, “It’s true Ashley Moody was first a registered Democrat, but it’s false she has been her whole life. She entered college as a Democrat and in her twenties became a Republican.”

Independent fact-checker PolitiFact Florida also rated White’s claims as “false.”

“What we now find so incredibly disturbing is that Frank White is not only deceiving voters with his continued false and misleading attacks in this newly released ad, but that he fraudulently altered original audio to support his deceptive narrative. The voters of Florida deserve better in their next Attorney General,” said Nick Catroppo, Moody’s campaign manager.

The White campaign did not comment, despite a request from FLA News.

Campaign ads typically stretch the truth, but what’s uncommon is editing clips to distort the actual context of what was said. One of the most famous distortions happened in 2010 when then-Congressman Alan Grayson aired a commercial about his opponent Dan Webster titled “Taliban Dan.” The ad made it seem like Webster was saying wives should submit to their husbands, when in fact, Webster said the opposite. The ad backfired on Grayson, was widely repudiated, and Webster won the election.

The race between Moody and White has been the nastiest statewide race this election cycle. Not only has White labeled Moody, a former circuit judge, as a “lifelong Democrat,” he’s also accused her of supporting “pro abortion liberals.” Those are fighting words in a Republican primary. Moody, in return, has labeled White – an attorney for his father-in-law’s automobile dealerships – a “car salesman turned politician.”

Both have key supporters in the race. White is endorsed by Florida Right to Life PAC, and Florida Family Action. Moody is supported by outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi and 90 percent of Florida’s Republican sheriffs.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.