Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Was Feingold really in front of his house?

The ad Mark Belling is talking about

In a new TV ad, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold goes back in history, reviving images from his successful 1992 campaign when he painted promises on his garage door in Middleton. Facing a tough re-election battle, the Wisconsin Democrat tells voters he owns the same house and is still the small-town fella they elected 18 years ago -- except that today he posts promises on a website instead of his garage.

It"s not exactly what you would call an attack ad. But it was enough to open the door for an attack by WISN-AM talk radio host Mark Belling.

"I"m going to make an accusation here, and I am very confident that I am correct in my accusation," Belling said in the first hour of his Sept. 28, 2010 program. "That ad is a fake. That ad is a fake. Feingold is not standing in front of his house in this new ad. They faked it."

Belling said he checked out the ad himself and cited an expert source he said he could not identify.

"Ninety minutes of my life today was spent frame-by-framing this through the Internet to find the tipoffs that have convinced me the ad is fake," he told his listeners. "…My contention is Russ is standing in the studio."

On his website, Belling posted a link to the ad with this headline: "This Feingold Ad Is A Fake: He"s Not Standing In Front of House."

While our primary focus at PolitiFact Wisconsin is fact-checking the promises, claims and accusations made by elected officials and candidates, we will also examine the words of other voices who shape the political discourse.

This was a strong accusation: Did  a U.S. Senate candidate aiming to show off his roots back home fake the scene from a far-off TV studio? We checked the facts.