Proving that false political ads can be held accountable
FRANKFORT, KY – After almost two years in court, Senator Ralph Alvarado has received a signed public apology from Dale Emmons — consultant to former State Senator RJ Palmer — who was involved in creating a political attack advertisement against Dr. Alvarado.
A week before the 2014 general election, the deceptive ad was aired by Palmer’s campaign against then-candidate, Dr. Ralph Alvarado. Alvarado was running against RJ Palmer, and Palmer was losing. The ad depicted a court scene with one of Dr. Alvarado’s patients, on trial for illegal drug activity. The footage was heavily cut and pasted together, with text at the bottom that suggested a scandalous explanation of what the viewer was watching: that Alvarado was a drug-dealing, or “Pill Mill,” doctor.
After Dr. Alvarado contested the advertisement, it was briefly pulled from the airwaves. Palmer then placed a disclaimer in the advertisement that made it mandatory, under FCC regulations, for television stations to run the ad.
Such a blatant mischaracterization against a small-town family doctor was beyond the pale, even for politics. The ad went after Dr. Alvarado’s professional career and personal character. Dr. Alvarado went on to win the November election, and is currently serving as State Senator for Clark, Fayette, and Montgomery County.
Dr. Alvarado has been in court defending his name since 2014, with defamation claims against both Dale Emmons and RJ Palmer. Just this week, Alvarado received a public, signed apology from Mr. Emmons whose agency was involved in creating and distributing the ad:
In the 2014 race for the 28th District State Senate seat, we created a campaign
advertisement using courtroom video footage that we edited. The advertisement did
not disclose that the footage had been edited. The advertisement showed footage of a
patient of Dr. Alvarado’s who had been charged in court with criminal wrong-doing
involving narcotics. Dr. Alvarado had legally prescribed narcotics to his patient but the
edited footage made it appear as though Dr. Alvarado had been involved in the criminal
activity of illegally distributing narcotics to his patient. Dr. Alvarado was not involved in
any criminal activity. I am publicly apologizing to Dr. Alvarado for creating a
misimpression in the advertisement to the contrary. Dr. Alvarado was not involved in
his patient’s illegal drug activity.
Dale C. Emmons, Emmons & Company, Inc.
According to Ralph Alvarado, the issue is larger than the race itself. “For me, it’s a matter of principle. These false ads cannot stand.”
Because of his own experience, Dr. Alvarado has spoken up on the issue of political misinformation: “Every election cycle, these political campaigns push out fake and humiliating ads, and no one is ever held accountable for them. This is why people do not get involved in local politics. And our voters don’t deserve to be fed these concocted lies, aimed at swaying their decision in the voting booth.”
To stay up to date on Senator Alvarado’s work in Frankfort, you can visit ralphalvarado.com, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.