WNPR says McKinney edited its audio for attack on Foley

WNPR reported Thursday that John P. McKinney's campaign for governor edited audio and video of Tom Foley in a misleading way for use in a television commercial. The McKinney campaign says the changes did not misrepresent Foley's position.

McKinney's campaign commercial has Foley, his rival for the GOP nomination, saying, "I'm not going to cut spending."  What Foley actually said was, "I'm not saying I'm going to cut spending; I'm saying I'm going to hold spending flat."

"Those are Mr. Foley's words. The meaning doesn't change," said Jodi Latina, a spokeswoman for McKinney.

The source of the video was not identified in the commercial, which went on the air earlier this week. The McKinney campaign did not respond to a question from The Mirror earlier this week about its provenance. Foley said he could not identify the video.

But WNPR recognized the sound bite as something Foley said during an appearance on its public affairs program, "Where We Live." In the station's report, it says it was unclear how McKinney married video to the audio.

The station also says it does not permit material from is programs to be used in campaign commercials.

In a statement, Foley said the editing was improper and misleading:

“Today, John McKinney and I participated in a debate.  Today, John McKinney said that you have to trust your Governor to tell the truth.  I couldn’t agree more.  The revelations by WNPR that John’s latest campaign advertisement misleadingly edited my prior statements are exactly what he said we couldn’t have from our next Governor.  For too many years the political discourse in this country has been marked by toxicity.  Unfortunately, John McKinney has brought that atmosphere here to Connecticut.  The citizens of Connecticut after three and half years of Governor Malloy want honesty and civility in their Governor. McKinney’s deceptive editing of my remarks will surely disappoint Connecticut voters who are looking for a new, more honest leader.”

McKinney responded with his own statement:

"After dodging questions and distorting my voting record, Tom Foley clearly lost today’s debate and in a Malloy-like tactic is trying to change the narrative.  Our television ad offers an edited version of a statement he has made repeatedly throughout this campaign: Tom Foley won’t cut spending, he will “flat-fund” spending.  He repeated this very statement in today’s debate.  There was absolutely nothing misleading about our ad or its presentation of Tom Foley’s position."

A transcript of Foley on WNPR:

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST: One of the things that people are asking and I think want to know about is, would you lay off people in state government if you had to...?

TOM FOLEY: No. That's what I'm saying...

DANKOSKY: You're not going to lay off people in state government?

FOLEY: No. The state government - the state workers are only a third of the cost of government so even if you...that's not going to solve the problem. But, John, you and I know government actually does things...

DANKOSKY: Trust me, yeah, yeah...

FOLEY: But the problem with this government is they aren't doing enough and government's costing too much. People are getting a bad deal. Their taxes have gone up and everybody knows that roads and bridges are deteriorating. We've got the second longest wait in lines at DMV of any state in the country or I think we're a minute or two behind California and it's like 53-and-a-half minutes.

This is just a government that's not performing. So we're not...it's not only expensive, we not only have some of the highest taxes anywhere in the country and the highest spending rate per capita and the highest long-term liabilities per capita, but the government simply isn't performing well.

So everybody assumes that if you're going to hold spending - I'm not saying I'm going to cut spending, I'm saying I'm going to hold spending flat. So hey, if we employed everybody in the state government this year that we have with this spending, we can do it next year spending the same amount of money.

DANKOSKY: Don't costs go up? Costs go up for everything! You run a business. I mean, costs go up...

FOLEY: Well, they go up in some areas and they go down in some areas so you have to make it more efficient or this government wastes a tremendous amount of money.

About Mark Pazniokas

Mark, a winner of numerous journalist awards, is the former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and a former contributing writer for The New York Times. In more than 30 years as a reporter, he has covered some of the most compelling stories in the state, including the impeachment inquiry and resignation of Gov. John G. Rowland in 2004 and the nationally watched Senate race won by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as an independent in 2006. Mark is a graduate of Boston University.

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