I-Team investigation: Political ads blurring the lines between fact and fiction
The latest ad from Don Blankenship is now causing waves across the country.
The Republican who is running for U.S. Senate says in the ad "swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people."
Blankenship claims McConnell has gotten rich off of his "China family."
Those comments are now sparking backlash, with many saying the ad is racist.
McConnel's wife was born in Taiwan and her parents are Chinese. Her father is the chairman of a shipping company.
Blankenship is defending the ad.
Blankenship, who spent time in federal prison on a federal mine violation charge also referred to McConnell in another ad as "cocaine Mitch."
But Blankenship isn't the only one causing waves.
His challengers, Evan Jenkins and Patrick Morrissey, who are neck and neck at the top of the polls, are also pulling out all the stops.
They have flooded the airways, and the attacks don't just stop there
The candidates have gone back and forth on social media too.
The U.S. Senate race between Jenkins and Morrisey has become so vicious, it's attracting national attention, for all the wrong reasons
It’s being called the "ugliest primary in America,” and some analysts said the candidates are downright "lying."
So what is fact? And what is fiction?
We took a look at the latest campaign ads and here were some of the biggest red flags.
In one Jenkins ad, there's a picture of what looks like Morrisey shaking Hillary Clinton’s hand, but in the real picture he's actually shaking, Donald Trump’s hand.
Morrisey's campaign sent Jenkins a cease and desist letter asking that the ad be pulled.
The ad also claims Morrissey refused to support Trump over Clinton.
Factcheck.org explains that's a lie.
When Morrissey went as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, he went unaffiliated, not having pledged to vote for any candidate but ultimately cast his vote for Trump.
But the attempts to tie the opposing candidate to Hillary Clinton fly both ways.
One Morrisey ad said Jenkins voted for Clinton, but Ballotpedia said that's not true and says Morrisey;s team provided shaky, circumstantial evidence to back their claims. Jenkins also filed a complaint.
And then you have the ads coming from Blankenship’s camp, and even negative ads being put out by outside political action groups
So, what's this all mean?
We took the ads to Marybeth Beller, a political science professor at Marshall University
"It's very dangerous to voters, a democracy only works because people have faith in the system. They believe that if actively participate that the outcome will be a fair outcome, but when we're told untruths, it hinders out ability to have faith in the system," Beller said
Beller said it suppresses voter turnout. What should voters do when trying to navigate through the barrage of ads and claims that are standing on shaky ground?
"Voters have to be active. We know that PolitiFact is a nonprofit organization that does a very good job of weeding through what candidates and political leaders say and publish the truth," Beller said. "But voters also have to look at multiple news sources and have credible sources of news and not believe the ads.
There are three other candidates in this Republican race for U.S. Senate, Jack Newbrough, Tom Willis and Bo Copley.
And don't expect these negative ads to go away anytime soon, this is just the primary. Things will likely heat up in the general election in November, but what damage will be done to the candidate who survives and wins the GOP primary? Only time will tell.