Las Vegas Sun

June 25, 2019

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Numbers in Sharron Angle’s ad accurate, but final claim dubious

Reality check

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle’s first ad of the general election race is up and it’s all about jobs.

The commercial

It begins with a photo of Angle as she states, “I’m Sharron Angle and I approve this message.”

Then, over a soundtrack of swelling strings, a black and white image of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appears along with this text: “When Harry Reid became Majority Leader Nevada’s unemployment was only 4.4 percent.”

The screen goes black.

“Now. Nevada unemployment hits 14 percent, leads nation. — AP, CBS News.” Those words appear over slow-motion footage of a man in a hard hat, followed by the image of a man in a baseball cap, accompanied by this text: “Nevada is tops in unemployment. — MSN Money.”

The ad shows images of people walking in slow motion, feet shuffling, signs indicating work sites and businesses are closed while the following text appears:

“Unemployment falls in 37 states — rises in Nevada. — Associated Press.”

“Nevada overtakes Michigan for nation’s worst. — Wall Street Journal.”

“Nevada’s jobless rate continues to rise ... as most states have seen unemployment declines. — Las Vegas Review-Journal.”

“Nevada takes dubious jobless title from Michigan. — CNN”

“In just three years, Nevada’s economy has fallen from one of the strongest performing to possibly the weakest. — Bill Anderson, Chief Economist, Nevada Employment Agency.”

“Since Harry Reid has become Majority Leader, 135,000 Nevadans have become unemployed. — U.S. Department of Labor.”

Then the ad’s final text: “Help is on the way.”

The message

First, let’s acknowledge that Team Angle hit the top shelf of ominous music themes, a combination of early Spielberg and classic Hitchcock. Anyone else feel a sense of impending doom?

It gets your attention, doesn’t it? And it needs to because there is no voice-over, just those sad images and dire statistics.

It’s hard for anyone to argue with the veracity of the numbers in the ad. We have seen them all before: the record unemployment rate; tens of thousands of Nevadans out of work.

But did anyone else notice at least one of those clips didn’t look like it was shot in Nevada? It looked like a crowd of people shuffling through some major urban center. Still, we get the point — many people are out of work.

The reality

The only real question related to this spot is raised by the last line: “Help is on the way.”

Really? I don’t think we have heard from Angle what form that help might take. And how can help be on the way if this is Angle’s position on U.S. senators and jobs: “As your U.S. senator I am not in the business of creating jobs.”

In her latest incarnation, Angle says government can’t create a good jobs climate. But even if you buy the notion that Reid is responsible for the state’s poor economy, she seems to believe it’s not a senator’s job to create jobs.

The purpose of the ad is simple: change the discussion from Angle’s statements and focus on what could win her the race. It’s what James Carville knew would elect Bill Clinton: the economy, stupid.

The Reid folks are not stupid. They know that if Angle can refocus the discussion on that topic, the ominous music here could be Reid’s funeral dirge.

I give the ad points for its crisp message. But I can’t give it a top grade because of the questionable implication and Angle’s own definition of the job she is running for.

Overall, I give it a grade of B.

Transcribed from “Face to Face With Jon Ralston.”

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