Truth Test: Fact-checking a Bollier ad against Marshall

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — As we approach the November general election, you will see a lot of political ads. To help you stay informed, KSN is doing truth tests on some of the ads in the Kansas U.S. Senate race.

This truth test focuses on an ad supporting Barbara Bollier while criticizing Roger Marshall‘s response to the coronavirus. The ad does not mention Jason Buckley who is running as a Libertarian.

Who’s paying for the ad?

The ad was paid for by Barbara Bollier’s campaign, so donation money was likely used to produce it.

Ad claim: Marshall downplayed the risk

The ad says, “In a public health crisis, we need our elected officials to be straight with us. Just gives us the facts.”

It uses this quote from Congressman Roger Marshall, “I think the worst days are behind us.”

The ad claims Marshall downplayed the risk from the start. KSN has determined this claim to be misleading.

As early as March 15, Marshall sat down with KSN reporters and said while the flu was a greater concern, he encouraged Kansans to stay home and social distance. He predicted Kansas would have a tough couple of months fighting the virus and indicated older individuals and those with medical concerns are at high risk of death if they get sick.

“If we can take the next two weeks and everyone do what the president’s asking us to do: stay home,” Marshall said.

He also voted in March to support several COVID-19 funding relief efforts that had wide bipartisan support.

Dr. Marshall spent time in southwest Kansas and the Kansas City Metro area assisting with testing and coronavirus efforts in April.

We rate this part of the ad to be misleading to suggest Marshall downplayed the initial risk of the virus based on the information known at that time.

Ad claim: Marshall said ‘worst days are behind us’

The ad uses another one of Marshall’s quotes, “I think the worst days are behind us.”

This part of the ad is true. Marshall did say that on April 24 during a segment of Fox Business.

“I think things are very stable in Kansas,” he said during the April 24 segment. “The worst days are behind us. We have a few fires we’re trying to put out in a few locations, so things are going well.”

Ad claim: Marshall opposes mask requirements

Also in the ad, the announcer says, “He (Marshall) ignores medical experts, opposing basic mask requirements that would save lives.”

We find this statement to be questionable.

In a Republican Senate debate in Wichita, June 24, Marshall said he was not in support of a federal mandate for masks, but said individual businesses can require them and individuals should wear them around those with medical conditions.

On several occasions, Marshall has campaigned without wearing a face mask and has not required supporters to wear masks when at his events. He was not wearing a mask at his primary election watch party in central Kansas, Aug. 4.

Roger Marshall celebrates winning the Republican nomination in the Kansas U.S. Senate race in Kansas, Aug. 4, 2020. (KSN Photo)

The Centers for Disease Control has asked all Americans to wear face masks when in public to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ad claim: Marshall voted against protections for pre-existing conditions

The ad also claims Marshall voted against protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

This claim is true. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. The bill would put in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions as well as lower drug costs and expand the Affordable Care Act.

Marshall voted against the bill saying it would lead to Medicare for all. In a news release, he said, “The Republican patient-centered solution, which I am leading, solves the pre-existing conditions issue, increases patient choices and decreases costs so that every American can have access to quality and affordable care, and innovative miracle drugs.”

Ad claim: Marshall playing politics

The ad also says, “Congressman Roger Marshall always playing politics, but this virus isn’t a game.”

The image shown in the final clip is misleading. It shows a headline from The Kansas City Star with the quote, “Put politics before patient safety.” However, this is not a quote from Marshall. It is a quote from a Kansas City Star opinion piece in which the author writes, “Doc, you seem to have put politics before patient safety.”

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