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 an “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.
Comments (5)
  1. Kris Thein Miner says:

    Dirty politics at its worst. So much for “Mr. Nice Guy.” Paulsen is showing his true colors with this smear campaign and I’m glad to see that the truth is being brought to light. I voted for Erik Paulsen repeatedly, thinking he was a “good guy” who was fiscally responsible. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

    I am now campaigning for Dean Phillips and cannot WAIT to send him to Washington! Join us – it’s a joy filled, enthusiastic campaign filled with AWESOME volunteers, and EVERYONE’S INVITED!

  2. Reid Gisslen says:

    Oh, please….It’s so clear that Kessler’s “Reality Checks” sway toward the Democrats. He “spins” as much as any politician. But then….he is a typical liberal “journalist.” And it shows. You can tell what he really thinks in every “Reality Check.” Sick of him!

    1. It really doesn’t matter who you like. Facts are facts and they shouldn’t be deceiving, from either side.

  3. Jorge Gonzalez says:

    Pat Kessler has always been a liberal Democrat apologist and cheerleader. It’s been obvious for decades. He’s never written one article or given one tv segment dedicated to criticizing one Democrat or liberal or liberal organization. That is a fact. He’s refused numerous interviews from conservatives. Wonder why he is afraid of his own falsified biased and lying records?

  4. Alice Grace says:

    Dean Phillips is running a positive campaign while Erik Paulsen has gone completely negative, not to mention misleading and downright dishonest. One would think Paulsen would run on his record if he thinks he’s done a good job. Sadly, he hasn’t done much to be proud of.

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