I saw the Michael Fox on Youtube and it seems hard for me to believe that he wasn’t messing with his symptoms. For somebody who has acted with Parkinsons it seems impossible to have symptoms this severe when on medication.
For comparison here is his 2005 Emmys speech. The symptoms aren’t there nearly as much. It seems unlikely to be acted because the headbobbing seemed to be at random which is unlikely to be the result of acting. The real problem with these ads are that they ignore the arguments against it. It is effective television, but not to such an extent because few people change their opinion based on seeing a sick man. Furthermore Michael Fox has absolutely no credibility in his endorsements. He admits that he hasn’t actually read the amendment and doesn’t really know what it says, although he’s sure he’d support it. He appears in ads for Ben Cardin who’s against stem-cell research funding.
Just because somebody has suffered doesn’t make them more credible and it probably makes them less credible in terms of balancing costs. A person with AIDs would allocate more resources to it because he feels it is worth more to him. The ads are effective I’m sure, but it is far worse than any negative ad because it supports an idea which is dangerous in the extreme.