I come to this with clean hands: I didn’t think it was a big deal when the Boston Globe caught Kerry Healey using a photo from the wrong signing ceremony in one of her TV ads*. It was truthful, even if it wasn’t 100 percent accurate — not good enough for journalism (or at least it shouldn’t be), but plenty good enough for political advertising.
Now, then. On to Scott Allen Miller’s latest, in which he claims that Deval Patrick did the same thing and no one’s calling him on it.
Scott’s evidence is a Patrick ad in which Romney’s signing something and Healey’s looking over his shoulder with a tight little smile on her face. The “something,” according to the ad, is a $682 million cut in local aid. In fact, Miller points out, the photo was actually taken at the signing of the sex-offender-reform bill. Miller writes:
Let’s not hold our breath that the Globe will report, let alone run on the front page of section B, that the latest Deval Patrick ad is using a picture to make the same kind of distortion in reverse.
Trouble is, Miller’s lament is based on two suppositions, both ludicrous. They are:
- That Romney and Healey would hold a public signing ceremony so the cameras could click away as they slashed nearly $700 million for local police officers, firefighters and teachers. Rest assured, that one was signed in the office, with the door closed.
- That Patrick campaign officials hold the public in such contempt that they think viewers would actually believe Romney signed those cuts in public.
The shot used in the Patrick ad was clearly intended as stock footage, and was understood as such by 99 percent of those who saw it. The shot used in the Healey ad was not — viewers were deliberately led to believe Romney was signing the health-care bill when in fact he was signing the sex-offender bill.
Again, not a big deal. But to the extent that anyone was being deceived, it was by Healey, not Patrick.
*Yeah, yeah, yeah. The ad was bought for her, not by her.