Adwatch: Williams SuperPAC ad pro school choice

Type of Ad: Positive

Candidate: Tony Williams

By: American Cities

Title: "Forgotten"

The Basics: I always wondered if the SuperPACs would run negative ads in the campaign for mayor. One of them, American Cities, has provided its answer: No. If the PAC was going to go negative, now would be the time. Instead, American Cities, financed by wealthy businessmen who support Williams because of his stance on charters and school choice, is back with another positive ad for Williams called "Forgotten." It offers a message close to the SuperPACs founders' hearts: public education is failing thousands of children and Williams deserves support because he is the only candidate who favors options to the traditional public system.

Crit: All of this SuperPac's ads are well done and "Forgotten" is no exception. It features a melange of headshots of kids whom, the woman announcer says, are "doomed to fail," "written off at 11," and "forgotten at 13." These children, and tens of thousands of others, are "trapped in violent, crumbling schools..." she says. It is a grim view of urban public education and offers a smiling Williams as an antidote and as a candidate who wants to offer children and their parents choices. It's a hot button issue, but the PAC lets you know where it stands. In his own ads, Williams stresses how he supports public education, so I am not sure the PAC does him any big favors by (correctly) reminding people of his support for choice. 

Is the ad factual? Yes, though its critique of public schools is too uniformly gloomy. 

Grade: On our Pass/Fail system, this is a PASS. American Cities does big buys of TV time and this will keep their candidate's face before the public leading up to May 19.