edward long

Association of Old Crows


This conversation is closed.

Do not allow paid political advertising on radio, tv, and internet.

Mass media is arguably the primary influence on the average person's decision-making. It was for this reason that tobacco product advertising was stopped. Political ads have become not much more than attempts to persuade voters to vote NO for something or someone. Most of the content is negative and derogatory, if not outright false. Useful, truthful information is getting more scarce with each election. More muck gets raked every time the campaign season rolls around. Better we should exercise personal initiative to inform ourselves about candidates and issues. Billions of advertising dollars are at stake so the mass media will probably flaunt their powers of influence to stop any such effort, I know the tobacco lobby sure did.

Closing Statement from edward long

123 comments by 23 participants covered the spectrum from status quo to take the vote away from women!
8 people agree with the idea of stopping paid political ads on electronic mass media. 15 people have other ideas. Most believe there is a problem with campaign ethics. Some of the suggestions are: free air time for candidates with fact checking; third party ads ok but not endorsed by candidates; do what other countries do; repeal sufferage; people need information made available to them because they will not get it themselves; a 9-step program was itemized in detail; purge voter ignorance by force-feeding education; all advertising is propaganda; people have already made up their minds so ads don't have much influence; 2 people like the idea but feel it is too difficult to execute (the tobacco ad prohibition carried little weight); one person prefers the status quo; one thinks negative ads are helpful. Thanks to all who shared their wisdom and energy. I will see if TED will allow a debate on this.

  • Nov 14 2012: Absolutely yes. Paid Political Advertising should not either be allowed or restricted to a limit. As we all know in this era, Marketing, Advertising works and moreover when Internet Advertising goes viral it works more than million fold. With this, if content being served is negative, then impacts the viewer and people who follow this particular viewer in drastic manner. If this viewer is persuasive in nature, then you can imagine how would he himself build a potential community who might believe in certain negative manner which that advertising wanted to for certain time.

    Laws should be made stricter by the authorities looking after institutions like media be it electronic, vocal or print.
    In India, paid political news are being served to the viewers with all the prejudices which newsmaker wanted to and then in the race of more viewers media people try and glorify that nonsensical issue and suddenly something negative gets burst out of it. People involved in Journalism need to work with a lot of maturity to ascertain that basic and primary definition of journalism doesn't get butchered. Thanks Edward for this topic
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      Nov 14 2012: I included just electronic mass media because of the subtle but powerful effect it can have. I am pleased to see you mention journalists needing a cleansing from all their accumulated biases. Decades ago when I was in school the fudamental ethic of Journalism was Truth Without Bias. Today's journalists and their employers are unashamed to be labeled as Liberal, or Conservative, pro this and con that. I'm afraid the butchering you speak of is accomplished. Thank you for your perspective sir!
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    Nov 12 2012: My specific design to tackle the voter education issue is in the forums structure of Citizens Activated. Specifically, the voter education forums, along with the political opinion and voter mobilization forums. And all these serve the original purpose of our forefathers:

    Quote: "One of our paramount objectives is to educate the people to exercise their interests in effective ways, for as Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I know of no safe depositor of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” http://www.newamericanspring.org/pure_form.htm
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      Nov 12 2012: Thank you for your thoughts, the quote, and the link. Today's cesspool of paid political advertising is an affront to Jefferson's brilliant philosophy. These insidious ads contribute greatly to the insufficient enlightment of the people themselves.
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    Nov 11 2012: I was having this very conversation with a group of friends the other day. My point was that political advertising is in essence DISRESPECTFUL of the American people. There is no inherent virtue in just getting your name out and expecting that the American people should be content with that.

    This is why, as an individual who seeks to make a positive difference in my county, I have envisioned a new social initiative for our country called Citizens Activated, the adult arm of my New American Spring populist organizational vision. http://www.newamericanspring.org/first_arm.htm
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      Nov 12 2012: I agree sir that lying messages show a certain disdain for the electorate. All we really want is the truth about what effect the candidate or ballot measure will have on our lives. Thank you for your serious concern about this issue.
  • Nov 11 2012: I agree with this. The purpose of voting is to elect leaders, not marketing executives. They should be judged on their altercations for the job, not their advertising campaigns.
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      Nov 13 2012: I think I agree with you sir, but I need to know what you mean by the word "altercations" in this context please.
  • Nov 11 2012: I agree but my question is when haven't ads been political. Anheuser-Busch is always making new libation commercials just so you'll buy there product's so they can eliminate competition. Do your research and you'll find that in Supermarkets and convience stores about 60% of liquor section is filled with Anheuser- Busch product's. Or how about those wonderfully designed Superbowl commercials. Or numerous college commercials which institution may not even be accredited. Or the Numerous Charities that steal their donations. Or Church commercials that tell you to watch their program, then later beg for your money claiming they need it to fund their Extremely wealth church. Or to watch seemingly good critically acclaimed movies with Famous Celebrities in them, instead of watching movies that aren't the product of a bias rating system (Which is strangely ok with kids watching Extremely Violent images, but adverse to any sexually content.) I disgress when have you seen a advertisement that wasn't for any type profit but for the enrichment of people.
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      Nov 11 2012: No doubt there is a common goal for all advertising. My proposal to stop paid political advertising is based on that common characteristic. The use of public media to coax people to a desired decision is a fundamental component of free trade and capitalism. Far be it from me to attempt to stop all advertising. What I think should be stopped is paid political advertising for all the reasons cited throughout this post. I believe sufficient evidence exists in the public record to show that unscrupulous, incompetent people get elected to office via the effective use of paid political ads. The same applies to ballot measures. The decision making processs in matters of public concern should be protected, as far as reasonably possible, from deceptive, manipulative, false influences. Stop paid political advertising. Long live advertising! Thank you for your thoughts!
      • Nov 12 2012: I hope that you realize that most politicians campaign's are funded by these corporations, and have been influnenced to carry there interest's. One is the so called grassroots campaign to stop the forming of unions. Among other unscruplous deeds which I'm actually trying to verify the facts of.
      • Nov 12 2012: Ok found something interesting the federal reserve. It's not funded or regulated by any government factions nor is it a public institution but a privately who top branch includes the president's of all big banks.
        This seems so louche 1 I can not find out about the staff who makes the policies.
        2 The government faction made to regulate and audit called (Government Accountability Office) has very limited jursdication the Federal Bank and Reserve over their actions

        1.transactions for or with a foreign central bank or government, or nonprivate international financing organization;
        2.deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters;
        3.transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or
        4.a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board of Governors and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to items (1), (2), or (3).[41][42]
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      Nov 10 2012: You speak truth sir. But the problem is that many do, and likely always will, rely on mass electronic media for their information. These folks are deceived into voting a certain way and if enough of them do so then the misrepresented candidate gets elected or the measure becomes law. That should stop. Freedom of speech is important but the first amendment does not guarantee the right to lie, slander, and misrepresent for personal gain. To outlaw such conduct would in no way diminish the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. Thank you.
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          Nov 11 2012: It's ok, Mr. Trainor, I'm not disappointed. If I believed Twinkie eating people on welfare were costing me lots of money I would favor stopping them from eating so many delicious "cream" filled sponge cakes. I, being of sound mind, do not believe there is a pending Twinkies conspiracy by folks on welfare. Your second paragraph ignores the very essense of my argument: the persuasive power of these ads is being used to get votes where votes should not be gotten. Your third paragraph implies that if I have not introduced legislation on this matter that I am somehow being fraudulent, or insincere. Well, I have not authored legislation or formed any groups. All I have done is post an idea on the premier website where (mostly) valuable, intelligent, serious critical analysis can be gotten for free! Paragraph number four seems to be an example of syntax gone wrong. Can you interpret it for me please? I find nothing requiring a response in your fifth and final (I hope) paragraph.
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          Nov 11 2012: There are very good answers to your question in the full context of this post. Read more and write less Mr. Trainor.
        • Nov 11 2012: Ok he's not trying to ban information on the candidates. He believe's in banning there extremely one-sided advertisements or simply put propaganda. Every growing political candidate has a website or web page that state's their platform, plans, and associate's. All you would have to is research is the plan's details and decide whether you think it's effective or not. The Platform is unimportant because it's made just to make the candidate look pretty.
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          Nov 11 2012: Perhaps sometime we can discuss the flaws in my character. For now, I will record your opinion that paid political ads should not be outlawed. Thank you!
    • Nov 11 2012: I'm sad to say but I don't watch Tv either, but because I use YouTube and hulu that I still am forcible blasted with ads. They are shorter ads and are played in smaller quantities than any TV ads. but persistently annoying ads just the same.
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          Nov 11 2012: The issue is not the polarity of an ad. The issue is the veracity of an ad.
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    Nov 10 2012: Being influenced is inevitable. It is part of the realities of living in a community. I'm not a big fan of political ads because the candidates are marketed in a way similar to goods and service; but for political ads they are even worse because they present a particular candidate as the 'saint' 'great guy without any fault' 'patriot' 'caring' .....and all the rosy pictures that are meant to express the fact that our guy is great while the other guy is bad! (Opposition parties actually make ads that are meant to paint the other guy as BAD)
    I think politicians should be on TV, Radio and the Internet; not advertised as products but in debates, interviews and issue-based campaigns.
    All the white-washing, glamorizing and the PR stuff are too fake. And once a house is built on lies, it is most likely to be sustained by it.
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      Nov 10 2012: Politicians absolutely should be on mass electronic media. If fact, they should be obligated to do so as part of the process. What I think should stop is the paid political ads where only one side is presented and that usually in a biased, dishonest way. That should stop! Thanks!
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    Nov 8 2012: If we want to revise the election procedures then lets go all the way. Lets make sensable rules that would apply to all parties. Without a lot of thought and off the top of my head:

    1. Election war chests cannot exceed 1 million for ads, 1 million for transportation, 1 million for posters, etc. for a total of four million in a four year period. (or any reasonable amount agreed upon)

    2. TV ads will be limited to one per night per candidate from the hours of 8 - 10 PM until budget for ads are exhausted.

    3. Mail and lawn signs may be set out or mailed 30 days prior to the election and be removed within 10 workdays after the election.

    4. Robo calls are not allowed at any time. A number to call for further info will be provided on the poster, mailout, or ad.

    5. Door to door soliciting is not allowed.

    6. Townhall meetings are allowed but must be sponsored by a volunteer.

    7. Three debates will be sponsored by three networks decided by a hat draw. No audiences. All questions will be drawn at random; subjects will be foriegn affairs, US economic position, domistic issues, and two undisclosed subjects. Each speaker (from all parties) will be given three minutes to speak on each question and the microphone will go dead at the end of the three minutes and cameras will return to the debate monitor. Speakers will not have the benefit of hearing the other speakers and the question will be given to them with one minute to prepare their thoughts.

    8. Use of public transport at the expense of taxpayers will not be used during campaigning. (Air Force One)

    9. The incumbent will step down from office for 30 days prior to the election to campaign. The VP will act on normal duties ... emergencies are a exception. The incumbent will not be on the federal payroll during this time.

    At the end of the debate there will be a fact check and the false or misleading details will be identified. No recap .. if he cannot make his point to bad. This is fun. Bob.
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      Nov 8 2012: Not bad for an extempoaneous effort sir! I would really like to see the electronic ads go away. I think your #1 would pretty much achieve that because you can't buy much air time for a measly $1M. Also, you need a stiffer penalty for debaters who say something not factual. Otherwise they will knowingly state a falsehood just to inflict the damage and then accept a slap on the hand. #9 sounds dangerous depending on who is the VP. Some of your measures seem to be remedies for bothersome solicitors which I agree with, but my real concern is to stop the misleading of voters. Thanks!
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    Nov 8 2012: Not a bad idea but I wrestle with the 1st amendment implications.

    McCain Feingold has just created a more complex system that does not reform anything.

    The reasoning is to create more responsible voters?

    To that end maybe go back to you had to have skin in the game to vote, Ann Coulter says to end women's suffrage, my idea would be that you have to take a test to demonstrate a basic understanding of politics and economics.
    • Nov 8 2012: Well, the existence of Ann Coulter certainly IS one reason to end women's suffrage but on that test, you can't have economics questions because it's not a science and not even economists agree with each other on many topics: ask 100 economists the same question and you get 100 different answers, it's a modern form of fortune-telling. Why not ask aspiring voters to point out 3 countries on a globe, that'll clean up the American electorate.
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      Nov 8 2012: Yipes! You just pegged the Radical Meter! A prerequisite test for voters? Forget about it! Diversity won't allow it. Take the vote away from females? I'm glad I didn't say that sir!
      The First Amendment does not guarantee the right to broadcast slander and untruth, but it is too expensive to litigate at that level so nobody sues anybody even though the ads are lies and gross distortions meant to mislead. I think we're OK on the 1st Amendment issue.
      Yes, the reasoning behind my idea is to stop people from voting according to false or misleading information. Remember, the number of smokers, especially new smokers, decreased when the ads were banned. Does anyone remember when Lawyers were not allowed to advertise on TV and radio? Their business boomed when that changed. Agreed?
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        Nov 8 2012: Why won't diversity allow for it?

        I'm merely relaying what Ann Coulter said which is pertinent to this question.

        Agreed that smoking has gone down and ambulance chasers have gone up. Do you have any statistics about either? It seems to me the culture had more to do with the smokers and perhaps lawyers as with the entitlement culture.

        I kinda think it is time to do something radical?
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          Nov 8 2012: My diversity remark goes to language difficulties (ebonics, etc.). The questions on a test may be relevant and known to a white,anglo-saxon protestant, but foreign to an inner city Hindu citizen.
          I don't question the relevance of Ms. Coulter's observation. I just see it as a conversation stopper.
          I do not have data on the the examples. I do however "know" the effects are a matter of record as I stated them. Feel free to disregard those for lack of proof.
          It is time to do something radical. We do not disagree Pat. Peace.
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        Nov 8 2012: One point the world has settled into English as the standard language as the dollar is the currency of choice. Why do we have to screw around with the "language difficulty at all? Hell if China can learn English why not the voters?
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          Nov 8 2012: Mine is not to reason why. I seem to recall back in California in the 70's or 80's the ballots had several languages, not just Spanish and that second language . . . oh yeah, English.
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    Nov 14 2012: Yo Fast Eddy where is the closing statement you promised us?

    I want to know what we learned.
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      Nov 14 2012: Sometimes the best insight comes near the finish line. Still an hour remaining for some TEDster to illuminate the issue with glowing truth and clarity. I already learned one thing though, and that is that many people take the first amendment seriously. Stay tuned Pat and thanks for your contributions.
  • Nov 13 2012: I completely agree with you James, Romney is a liar and president Obama is the savior of us all. He is the most honest man, who can appeal to us all as tears fall from his eyes.
    • Nov 13 2012: I'm not sure if you're serious or not, either way I had to laugh.
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    Nov 13 2012: We, the entire population of the US, have been indoctrinated to believe that our politicians, those we "elect" to office, are LIARS and THIEVES, and that we should just accept that as the way things are........

    and until recently, they have politely kept that reality in the background so we can continue to live under the false assumption that they are otherwise qualified and decent human beings with our best interests at heart. Now they are more bold and less "polite" about obscuring these aspects of our political system and your.......


    seriously.....you expect the rubber manufacturers to "re-invent" the wheel........

    it is not the system that is flawed, it is the processes that support the system that need to change
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      Nov 13 2012: There is nothing intuitive about your view of the problem. So much more fact-finding is called for. I think stopping paid political ads (PPA's) would be justified simply on the basis of opinion and intuition. PPA's broadcast information which may or may not be true. Since evaluating the veracity of a PPA would take time and money prior to its broadcast it cannot be verified because of the small amount of time between primarys and elections. No problem. . . let's just stop PPA's. Their absence would have a more positive effect, on the very process you mention, than their presence does. Thank you for your thoughts Mr. Roche.
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        Nov 13 2012: Everything comes from something, is born of a history and that history must be examined before the current status of anything can be examined for potential adjustments to any benefit...

        The system is broken from the inside......simply ending PPAs, a slippery slope of censoring free speech btw, will not miraculously fix the problems inferred by this discussion and may potentially create even greater issues down the road.... though I don't disagree something must be done to pull money out of the processes used to elect our leadership......

        You've alluded to it here, an information pipeline, accessible to everyone, facts, voting records, employment histories, qualifications, plain english explanations of proposals and bills, ect. paid for by media as the cost of doing business in our country, checked for accuracy, and so on.....

        But, this is only part of a much larger and complex problem that needs to be addressed before we can have and expect accountability within our broken democratic system....

        Corporations are People, effectively negating "One person, One Vote"
        Vast amounts of money contributed by "ghost" entities
        No Accountability for Lying to the public in or out of office
        Less than half the electorate actually voting
        Rampant ignorance among the voting populace of the processes of government
        PACs, Lobbyists, the list goes on and on....

        An argument against the "Mass Media" as the Primary Influence on our decision-making during elections falls short...
        just sayin
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          Nov 13 2012: Absolutely agreed sir. Stopping PPA's is not a panacea. But stopping a raging inferno is worth the water damage. Afterwards we can take time to determine how best to prevent another fire.
  • Nov 12 2012: I hate commercialism anyway so I haven't thought that much about keeping political ads out but there should at least be a consequence for lying. Romney has set a precedent that needs to be addressed. Adults running for high office should not need a law or threat to keep them to tell the truth and making assertions that can be backed up with evidence, but Romney's bald-faced lied by the bushel basket make the whole process a sham and America an embarrassment in the eyes of the world. We should not need a Constitutional amendment to remove a whole administration from office for getting a war wrong, but Bush-Cheney has made that necessary as well--there is a conflict of interest in ending the war if you aren't willing to admit the truth. These are times where apparently you DO have to put signs on walls to tell people not to hit their heads against them.
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      Nov 12 2012: Whether the Republicans are the only ones who lie or not is beyond the scope of this post. What you have astutely pointed-out sir is that the lying should stop no matter which side of aisle it comes from. Stop paid political advertising on electronic mass media! Thank you!
    • Nov 13 2012: Mr. James, having four Americans murdered in Libya while the whole world watches is an embarrassment in the eyes of the world as well. Both administrations have blood in their hands but the masses are too ignorant to see it. The media has saturated their minds with ignorance. Like sheep being guided in their thoughts.
      • Nov 13 2012: Why address that to me. Isn't this about political ads? Only on right wing media has the tragedy in Libya been made into theater of sensationalism. I do not trust them or there motives. You should probably check your information sources for bias unless you already know you're a right wing dupe. I didn't see anything during the political ad season that President Obama approved that was a lie. And only one or two things done by PACs used actors and maybe fudged a date of two. Romney had Jeep moving to China in the last week of the election and wouldn't stop saying it even after Chrysler complained about the lie. This type of LYING went on even in the primaries. Heck, the man was caught lying on his taxes to get into the Governor's Mansion in Massachusetts. Fool me once, twice---how many times do you need to be lied to before it's YOUR SHAME?
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          Nov 14 2012: Mr. McGuiness, will you please identify any right wing bias in these three questions about Benghazi?
          1) The White House denied pleas for added security prior to the attack. Why?
          2) When did the White House learn of the attack and was appropriate action taken immediately?
          3) From where did the "cover story" about an American-made anti-Muslim film come?
          I know pro-Obama folks will say it's all unimportant, and anti-Obama folks will say it's a premeditated act of treason and acts of impeachment should be drawn-up immediately. But for now how about serious, factual answers to these three fact-based questions? Thank you!
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      Nov 12 2012: I believe the 47% figure heard recently. That number of voters are expected to vote a straight party line. That leaves 6% who are the real target of the tsunami of often inaccurate, if not outright false, ads meant to do what all ads are meant to do. That demographic does not affect the need to institute the idea I am proposing. Thank you!
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        Nov 12 2012: The 47% figure was conjecture on a different topic (which has been shown to be false). The data I've seen on straight-ticket votes ranges from 38.5% in OK to 45.5% in IN, and I've yet to find anything from the 35 states that don't promote straight-ticket voting.
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          Nov 12 2012: You are correct sir. The final numbers are not in but I expect them to illustrate the stark polarization of the American electorate. This is about the popular vote, not Electoral votes. How does this bear on the posted idea?
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        Nov 12 2012: Apologies, I meant those were the percentages of voters that went straight-ticket in those states. The idea was that those voting straight-ticket would coincide with those who made up their minds before the advertisement campaigns began. On the other hand, only about a quarter of registered voters are independent (according to http://2012election.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004483), so perhaps my assumption was incorrect.

        I would have to agree to Tucker's observation of the effects of confirmation bias in the already-decided voters though.
    • Nov 12 2012: Interesting I'm inclined to prove you wrong with science and facts.
    • Nov 12 2012: Also tucker do really exist I just tried to message u and failed horribly.
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    Nov 12 2012: I agree with the sentiment, but I don't see that restricting such advertising would be the correct course of action. Primarily, the outlets that would provide their services to a politician pro-bono are precisely the ones which are biased toward that politician, while the outlets that are more neutral might not be able to afford the associated loss in revenue. Secondarily I would note that the negative ads seem to work better (in terms of voter turnout and issue knowledge, according to http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/caveman-politics/201210/why-are-negative-ads-positive-voters), in spite of their attempts to manipulate the public.
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      Nov 12 2012: I do not disagree with your observations but I would add that the heart of the problem is UNTRUTH. I really don't care who says what in a campaign so long as what they say is true. As stated elsewhere in this coversation, we are not talking about positive versus negative ads, but about true versus false ads. To me a true negative ad is of much more value than a false positive ad. I am proposing stopping ALL PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISING because I don't think we could restrict only false ads, so stop them all. Thank you.
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        Nov 12 2012: Wouldn't that just leave the pro-bono adverts, and not affect the lack of truth in them?
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          Nov 12 2012: I do not know how we can stop media owners from using their resources to get their favorites elected or passed by whatever means necessary without infringing upon their Constitutional rights. So I think we must live with those non-revenue producing ads from the media moguls. Follow the money, Mr. Hawk, follow the money!
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    Nov 11 2012: Ha ha. Thank You.
    I will appreciate if you can provide your views on my understanding.
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    Nov 11 2012: It is really a great concern for the society and for a nation to grow, unless we propose a strong law in media. Because, in the democratic countries,most of the reforms and ideas are initiated by the government. So, it is important to choose a right leader,belonging to a party, which can stand for the people of the nation. But most of the politicians are concerned with VOTE-BANKING.Their self-interest is bigger than the growth of their country. Here comes the role of mass media that includes Ads too.

    If i analyse,there are 3 categories of people inclined to politics.
    1. Likely Voters
    2. Undecided Voters
    3. Nothing to do with ..

    The major concern lies to undecided voters,because they do not know whom to support. And here Politicians or political parties make the wrong use of media by provoking such that they will deal with their vote banking efficiently. Now we have reached to a point where it requires an utmost importance to challenge this situation.

    - A stricter rule has to be governed for media, if it is proved that the particular media is driven by political funds.
    - The editors have to take responsibility to check the credibility of their team and the unbias of any political parties.

    Freedom of speech does not mean that people or mass media interprets something that favors to a particular group.The mass media should examine the facts, not claims.
    There are few countries such as India, where most of the funds to media come from donation of political parties. Even if it is not election time, the way they publish their everyday contents, is bias or favourable to a political group. It is very easy to pursuade the uneducated people or in developed world, undecided voters.

    And everyone knows the consequence of selecting wrong people in relevant places. It certainly becomes disaster. Hence, i say a stricter reform or rule should be implemented to restrict paid political advertising that promotes negative and derogatory content.
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      Nov 11 2012: Two birds with one stone, eh Mr. Panda, a vote for stopping paid political ads and vocabulary practice. Thank you. :-)
    • Nov 11 2012: I agree with ed to kill the campaign ads. One because I worked on the Obama campaign and even I got sick of seeing in every form of media, and I don't even watch TV. Second though I do believe there is a extreme need for unbiased fact checking media. I don't believe that by just delivering the facts will that change the influence of Politicians because with the mass media outputs they can very easily bend the truth in there favor. Example Micheal Jackson, OJ, R Kelly, or that case where the mother allegedly murdered her child, or Reverend Jesse Jackson who had a child out of wedlock and threaten's Obama sayin "I want to cut the nig***s balls off" and is still a popular political figure.
  • Nov 8 2012: Yes, mass-media is the basis of most people's decision-making process, at leas when it comes to the elections, but to ban political ads? I don't think this is going to work. In the UK, politicians can't really advertise themselves on public TV. The result? Turnouts approaching 40% with a downward trend, because nobody can't be bothered to look the policies up unless somebody shouts them from their TV screen.
    Attack ads don't necessarily mean the rhetoric is vile and hateful. It is an element of adversarial politics, and because both sides want to top each other and comment on each other's bad ideas, effectively MORE information is getting through, at the same time encouraging public debate.
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      Nov 8 2012: Thank you for your insight. My idea is to change the present reality of people voting based on lies they have been told via, if not by, the media. Do people really not have time to learn which candidate or measure they support or oppose? What if the message being shouted from the TV screen is a lie? Shouldn't we consider fixing that?
      • Nov 9 2012: I would say that people who do not take the time to inform themselves should not vote. It would be great if people had to fill out a basic questionnaire in order to vote. If you pass go right ahead and vote. I get sick every time a television show ask people on the street basic questions, and they can not answer them. I once watched a teacher who was unable to answer basic history questions. It would be great if fact checking were mandatory, and networks were fined for every falsehood they utter. I do not think this would hinder anybody's freedom of speech anymore than not being able to scream fire in a movie theater does. I think Orson Welles proved that freedom of speech should be used responsibly. That being said, many people listen to networks that I think lie a lot. Remember Dan Rather's fake documents. I am sure plenty of people still watch CBS News. As long as the owners think that the truth is not important to us then they sell us scandals. Compare annual sales of the National Inquire to news magazines sometime. People making uninformed decisions are dangerous not to just themselves, but to all of us. Personally I think that the only reason some people vote for a candidate is because that politician promised to get them something for nothing. Basically buying their vote. If this did not effect me then I would say it was a personal matter, but it does. There are schools in Mexico that teach that Thomas Alva Edison was Mexican, simply because his middle name sounds Hispanic. Lies are very hard to erase once they are ingrained. How many dictatorships control their people with fear and lies? Then you have to consider the "shouters". Those would be the people who you try to have an intellectual exchange with, but can not defend their beliefs. They believe that the louder ruder person wins.
        I would mix both of your opinions together. I do not mind seeing a fight just as long as I am being presented with the whole truth. Halve truths are just as good as lies to me
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          Nov 9 2012: I guess the issue here is truth. As you say there is nothing wrong with opposing candidates slugging it out so long as they don't resort to lies and deceit. Unfortunately time has proven that there is trend in paid political advertising on mass media toward slander, libel, innuendo, and outright lying. Such conduct is adopted because it produces results. If a person hears something enough times they will tend to believe it and vote accordingly. If what they hear is truth, no harm, no foul. But if what they hear is not true there is a serious problem. Many here say we are not our brother's keeper and if people are too stupid to see through the lies then that is their problem. I disagree. It is my problem when a candidate or a ballot measure passes or fails based on the power of untrue advertising. It should stop. Thanks for your thoughtful response to the question!
        • Nov 9 2012: Such test would undermine the principle of universal suffrage, which is one of the things we can safely say democracy got right. Yes, the media in the USA are heavily biased, some towards the crazies (Fox), and some towards the lefties (NBC? Not sure). Yes, they tend to oversimplify. Outright lies? Not so much. They are the news, after all.
          I totally agree to the statement that the public is not presented with the whole truth by the news. That's what attack ads are for -- to supply the uglier part of truth about the other candidate.
          Speaking of slander and painting the wrong picture, I think the first ever presidential campaigns in the US featured them rather prominently. So in a way, progress was made since that time.
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      Nov 10 2012: RE: "Such test . . . " Absolutely right sir! If the truth is being presented, no matter how ugly, then I say bravo. What I think should stop is the lying. If you had seen our barrage of paid political ads here the wild west of Arizona you would not characterize the use of outright lies as "not so much". Also, I am not concerned about the bias of network owners. Each of us can choose our network but we cannot escape the fusilade of deceitful, misleading paid political ads. They should be stopped.
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    Nov 8 2012: don't you think that tv channels, internet pages and radio stations have owners? why don't you let them decide what content they put on their own media?

    how about i claim that quality wine is good culturally, so i ban showing cheap wines in media? you people in the US pretty much seem to have forgotten things like freedom of speech and such minor issues. constitution anyone?
    • Nov 8 2012: Almost every such owner has a great temptation to make a lot of money, so they do not care about the moral aspect of their advertising (
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        Nov 8 2012: almost? i certainly believe that all of them have. if they want to appear as a trustworthy source of information, they can of course reject it, but every firm has its own strategy and image. viewers decide what they watch.
        • Nov 8 2012: But they also care about the rating and feedback from the audience. I know that people want to see and hear according to their personal preferences, but still, how can I trust the politicians on the basis of what they reveal about themselves, and not by their actions?
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        Nov 8 2012: why would you trust politicians based on that?
        • Nov 8 2012: I certainly will not, but many people do that..
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        Nov 8 2012: if they want to trust a source, why would you want to interfere? if you think they are wrong, why don't you try to educate them as opposed to put them between fences?
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        Nov 8 2012: it is too difficult to educate them, so you just want some fences. isn't it like disdain? you want to treat people like sheep, stupid and unable to learn
        • Nov 9 2012: Hey, I suggested a limit for low moral political advertising. And I'm not talking about the low IQ society, I say that people have to make a decision based on "pure" information, that's all.
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      Nov 8 2012: Even in a free society some restrictions are needful. Media advertising is a powerful determinant of human behavior. It is also very profitable for the owners of the media outlets. When it is used to persuade people to make "bad" choices, like willful regular exposure to known carcinogens, the greater good demands such ads be stopped. I am suggesting that the content of local and national political ads has become so disingenuous that the voting public is being fraudently influenced and powerful roles of leadership are being won by misrepresentation. Your wine analogy is not relevant because the judicious consumption of inexpensive, low quality wine is harmless. The first amendment issue has already been discussed herein. Your idea to let the wolves guard the chicken coop is not a good one for obvious reasons. Thanks!
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        Nov 8 2012: so you believe that other people are mindless drones, and you need to defend them?
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          Nov 8 2012: As an irreducible paraphrase of my opinion your comment is consistent with my opinion. I would, and did, choose to phrase it a bit more gently and not apply it universally as you seem to with your sweeping, fallacious generalization. Social order and government authority are built upon the idea of the greater good. Do you really defend the right to knowingly misrepresent the truth to gain political advantage? The Constitution of the United States does not guarantee such a right. Does Hungary's? Thank you!
        • Nov 8 2012: Money should not equal speech, it's one vote per person and that should be reflected in campaign financing laws. Money plays a large role in campaigns whether you in your bubble want to acknowledge it or not. People (especially ones with families) simply don't have the time to sift through all the BS (and you know what, they shouldn't have to in the first place) and the media always call it even because they are afraid to look partisan, so they don't fact check, which should be their job. So in the end some of the BS will sift through and only the candidates with a lot of money backing them stand a chance as long as campaign financing laws are not improved. The process of democracy is by its very nature not a free market, nor should it be.
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        Nov 8 2012: greater than what? we have two adult persons. one of them is willing to put political ads on its website, the other is willing to visit the site regardless. but for the greater good, you want to intervene in a private matter.
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          Nov 8 2012: If their "private matter" results in sustained, prolonged deleterious effects upon society, then yes. That's how the greater good principle works. What if the "private matter" is child pornography? Do you oppose all restrictions on electronic mass media, or do you simply think my idea is not a justified case for regulation?
        • Nov 9 2012: "we have two adult persons."

          No, we have one working Joe and one billionaire, only one of them even has money to set ub a big website in the first place.
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        Nov 8 2012: so basically your doctrine is that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". however, if that doctrine is true, why don't we regularly kill a young man, and use his organs to heal five people? why don't we select a prostitute and let many men lacking sex rape her?

        this is not a good moral compass. a good moral compass has to be universal.
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          Nov 8 2012: How is killing a man, or raping a woman good? Again your logic is fallacious. Specifically you are attempting to use an Appeal To Consequences which is a fallacy where the conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from the initial discussion. Have you seriously never heard of the socio-political principle of the Greater Good?
        • Nov 9 2012: Krisztián, I agree with your philosophy completely. Slavery might still exist today in the United States if the many outweighed the few. I do not believe your scenarios were fallacious at all. There was a recent TED Talk about prisoners in Asia being forced to give their organs away. http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_lim.html However how many countries have been brain washed by their leaders? Kim Jong Il springs to mind. Take for example the fact that the Congress of the United States makes the budget. If you look at debt to GDP, and how the Stock Market is effected under different parties there definitely seems to be a bigger correlation than who we elect for our President. http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/Federal_Debt_1901-2010.png
          However the mass media would have people believe that Bush ruined the economy. Looking at these graphs I would say it is clear that the problems started in 2006 when Congress was controlled by Democrats. I hate to say it, but most of the poorest people vote Democrat. Often poverty goes hand in hand with a lack of education. In Europe their educational system out paces ours. Republicans have fought to have school vouchers implemented just as the schools of Europe use.The voice of Teacher's Unions has derailed that idea. Even though most children are doing poorly in school. Sometimes greed and sloth overrule common sense.
          I watched the news weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The reporter interviewed several African Americans at the airport. His first question was do you think people who look like they are from the Middle East should be detained. Everyone said "Yes". His next question was "So you believe in racial profiling?". The people being interviewed had been so brainwashed by those words that their common sense was overridden, and they changed their answer to no.
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        Nov 8 2012: i have just explained you that it is bad for some, but it is good for many. just like your proposal. i have certainly heard about the greater good. i also heard about marxism, malthusianism, keynesianism, the phlogiston theory and other theories proven wrong and/or immoral. the greater good is a self righteous way of thinking.
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          Nov 8 2012: And I have just explained to you that your logic is flawed. You can't seriously be proposing rape of an innocent woman as satisfaction for the sexual appetites of random men, or the murder of an innocent person to harvest their organs for use by others. Further, you equate your absurd scenarios to the idea of stopping paid political ads on electronic media. Me thinks you are not serious about this discussion. I will note your expression against the idea in my Closing Statement. Thank you!
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        Nov 9 2012: you did not even try to refute my logic, you just posed a question "why would that be good": i explained again, but to no avail.

        if you listen carefully, you might realize that i do not want to propose rape, rather, i explain why your reasoning is equally bad.

        the only difference between your idea and my "proposals" is the end they serve. this is when self righteousness comes in. you simply claim that your goals are so good, it worth causing harm to other people in order to get them. this thinking leads to places we don't want to go.
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          Nov 9 2012: Sorry, but I disagree that legislating against deliberate deception of the electorate by false advertising on electronic mass media is "causing harm to other people". I am still waiting for your answer to the question I asked 15 hours ago: "What if the "private matter" is child pornography? Do you oppose all restrictions on electronic mass media, or do you simply think my idea is not a justified case for regulation?"
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        Nov 9 2012: "Do not allow paid political advertising on radio, tv, and internet."

        where does it say deliberate deception? where does it say false advertising?

        yes, i'm opposing all restrictions. child pornography is completely okay as long as you can make it without children. see the difference? it is not a media issue, it is child protection. i'm perfectly okay with cartoons involving child pornography. i'm also perfectly okay with people writing angry letters if they see anything like it. and i'm also okay with an employer firing a worker if he watches, makes or distributes such material. and i'm okay with shop owner kicking out such an individual from his shop.

        the principle is easy. you keep your values to yourself. adult people can do whatever they please with their own life. nobody, on the other hand, can damage or threat other people. you have no right to impose your values on me or anyone else. you have no right to appoint the state or the police to come at my house, and take down my website, take my property or take me in custody because i engaged in voluntary interactions with other people in a way you don't like.
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          Nov 9 2012: Neither Logic nor Rhetoric affords me with the understanding to offer a response to a statement like, "child porography is perfectly ok as long as you can make it without children". Again, I will note your opinion in my Closing Statement. Thanks!
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        Nov 9 2012: you see, that is what i'm talking about. you have some values, and you believe that those are universal. that thinking will sooner or later come to an end. when though, i have no idea.
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    Nov 8 2012: One more thing, the real problem is voter ignorance. So lets attack the real problem. We need somebody like Paul Ryan to learn the American public how this whole deal works. That is right, learn people conceptual understanding of how economics works and how politics works and how government works. Yup do it on national TV and reach out and PULL people up a notch so that when they go to the polls they have instead of the wandering doubt they have the steely eyed stare of an genuine individual who knows who he is.

    You may scoff at this but it was done in Canada in the early 80's that is paying dividends today.
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      Nov 8 2012: BINGO! Deceitful, false advertising contributes greatly to the real problem . . . voter ignorance! As a result they vote based on misinformation and lies. My immediate point for this post is to advocate stopping the false advertising and misinformation. We are not hopelessly dumbed-down yet. We can manage without being spoon-fed.(I am curious though, how did Canada get all those hosers to watch such vapid stuff, eh?). Thanks Pat!
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        Nov 8 2012: Not sure Debra Smith learned me about this stuff, ti was done by Paul Martin, and it worked. Spoon feeding is what we need.
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          Nov 8 2012: Does the spoon feeding have to be subliminal, or fraudulent? Can you guarantee it won't be?Do you trust some government "nutritionist" to only spoon feed truth? I think it is better to let us make our own decisions free of force feeding.
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        Nov 8 2012: My premise is does it work or don't it, truth is divined by workability.

        My intention is to bring people up not patronize or nanny them but bring them up. They have to make their own decisions. A basic education is NOT force feeding a political ideology.

        The reality is that a culture teaches more than any other vehicle. What I'm talking about is to introduce critical thinking into the culture.

        Your idea will not work it will just be more government meddling to no effect at the cost of yet more bureaucracy. I have thought about this a lot I did a Venn diagram of this once with the 3 dynamics were government, people, and business the overlapping part in the middle was EDUCATION, that is what it is.
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          Nov 8 2012: I don't know from Venn Diagrams but I "know" (no supporting data) lots of voting decisions were made based on faulty information deliberately disseminated for purposes of deception. That should stop! I don't advocate regulating it by creating a Czar of Advertising. I advocate stopping it like we stopped tobacco advertising. There was no increase in government meddling when we stopped tobacco ads. What our collective national IQ, or political awareness level, is I don't know and I have no real ideas about how to make improvements. That's another post for someone. Thank you!
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        Nov 8 2012: To quote you "I do not have data on the the examples. I do however "know" the effects are a matter of record as I stated them. Feel free to disregard those for lack of proof."

        However Paul Martin is easily searched.

        The Venn diagram is self evident.

        What you are talking about is a symptom and fixing it will result in changing the way the marketing companies do their work but it does not address the core problem. You are making a correlation between cigarettes and advertising but it does not demonstrate causality. Education in anything is self evident to say otherwise is to say that if someone doesn't know how to do something it is irrelevant to his lack of production.
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          Nov 8 2012: When the house is burning I say put it out. You say do a Vinn Diagram to find out why it is burning. I prefer my solution. Maybe later we can look into why the house burned. The core problem is to put out the fire.
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        Nov 8 2012: My idea does not have to take a long time.

        Your answer is illogical and akin to saying I will fix the porch by oiling the back door.

        Well Eddy this is one of those things we ain't gonna agree on.
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          Nov 8 2012: We are creating muddled metaphors here. If we do a Root Cause Analysis on the issue of voters being misled I disagree that it is illogical to think that we will find that cause to be deliberately deceptive and manipulative campaign commercials broadcast on mass electronic media. If people are sufficiently trained in Critical Thinking is a completely separate question (porch), but I want to talk about voter deception (squeaky back door). By the way I am looking for intelligent criticism and opinion, not for agreement. As always I thank you sir!
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        Nov 8 2012: "Do not allow paid political advertising on radio, tv, and internet."

        How come?

        "false advertising contributes greatly to the real problem . . . voter ignorance!"

        How come?

        "As a result they vote based on misinformation and lies."

        How come?

        [Because they are not acting on their own volition]

        How come?

        [Because they are not trained in critical thinking]

        How come?

        [Because they are trained to think superficially]

        How come?

        [Because things are caused they do not just happen]

        So what can we do about this?

        [Education, which almost occurs willy nilly, if it is allowed to]
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          Nov 8 2012: Please take the last word on our exchange here sir. I think we have shared all of our worthwhile thoughts on the matter. I really hope your last word includes an indication of whether you think stopping paid political ads on electronic mass media should happen, or not. :-p
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        Nov 8 2012: The above is your prompted for "Root Cause Analysis" and Demonstrates what could be done. It is rudimentary logic.

        No I will not accept an infringement on the 1st amendment especially for something that would not create much effect.
    • Nov 8 2012: Learn economics from Paul Ryan? No thanks, you might as well get sex ed from the pope, marriage counseling from Newt Gingrich or a quantum physics class from Sarah Palin...
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        Nov 8 2012: He is a CPA. I guess it would be like learning anything from John Smith
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    Nov 8 2012: I don't think exercising personal initiative to inform ourselves is necessarily enough, but I am with you, Edward, in being absolutely sick of negative campaigns, candidates mocking their rivals, false claims, intentional distortions...It is one of those aspects of popular culture that always makes me feel as if I belong on another planet.
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      Nov 8 2012: Informing one's self is a dying skill, but it could be resurrected by a Smarten-Up campaign to reverse the Dumbing-Down effort currently sweeping the nation. I think most folks are glad to see the campaign advertising end, whether they are happy with the election results or not. Something needs to be done. See Peter Lindsay's comment below for a good Plan B. Thank you!
      • Nov 8 2012: People want to hear that which confirms what they were thinking all along, and they want to hear how great they are, the Karl Roves of this world give them exactly that and that's why distorting the facts is so successful. Can you imagine a candidate who says America is not the greatest country in the world, in some aspects, making it past the primaries?
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          Nov 8 2012: I hope this idea will be examined as a possible way to improve access to truth and to stop intentional deception. Telling people what they want to hear, if it is not true, is lying. My idea is to stop the lying and to vote based on facts.
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        Nov 8 2012: I am all for studying up and for that being a widespread habit. I still think people- all people- need comprehensible material brought to them for review and not just in writing.

        One of the problems with entertainment journalism and the nature of the modern political campaign and debate is they totally confuse lots of people, shift the focus to things that are not the most important, and frustrate those who are honestly attempting to figure out for themselves what different initiatives mean and what different candidates will do.

        I think lots of people do try to understand their choices.
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          Nov 8 2012: I agree that many people try to learn the facts. But, the producers of the deceptive ads are very good at their job which is to form people's opinions for them.
          More than printed media there is the town hall meeting where the candidate, or person representing a ballot measure, appears live to speak and do Q & A.
          Another learning tool I sadly miss is dialog with friends where points are made and new information revealed. And don't forget the Internet. We have instantaneous access to the Congressional Record. We can see for ourselves how a person voted on every issue! We don't need ugly ads muddying-up the water.
  • Nov 8 2012: "Do not allow paid political advertising on radio, tv, and internet."

    Most developed democracies have a system where all candidates or parties are allotted equal and limited air time for commercials on tv and radio and only on public stations (I guess that would be PBS in the United States). There is no need for the United States to reinvent the wheel.
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      Nov 8 2012: There is a need to reinvent the wheel if it can be vastly improved. Regarding Equal Time broadcasts, the US has been there, done that. It sucks! We went to the muck-raking free-for-all circus we have now. Reckon it's time for a change! Thank you!
      • Nov 8 2012: You must have been doing something wrong then because it works just fine in other countries. There are no super PACs where I live and I can't remember the last time I saw a negative political ad or an election that cost more than 20 million euros.
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    Nov 8 2012: How about instead of no advertising each candidate is given a certain amount of free airtime each week and any airtime payed for by a third party is clearly labelled as not endorsed by any particular candidate. It would be hard to stop all advertising as the super packs can buy air time as private citizens to say what they want, but I'm sure you could make it illegal for a candidate to appear in paid advertising.
    • Nov 8 2012: "It would be hard to stop all advertising as the super packs can buy air time as private citizens to say what they want"

      This is illegal in many countries, you can of course make a political documentary, but you can't just "buy" air time for those, you'd have to convince a station director to air it instead of the usual programming.
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      Nov 8 2012: Hmmm. We (the USA) stopped the hyper-strong ($) tobacco industry in their tracks. They cannot buy airtime.I think we could do the same with political machines. But your idea has merit too. You are advocating ads be allowed but their content be regulated so as to be informative, non-aggressive toward opposing groups and factual? You may have something there Mr. Lindsay. Thank you!
      • Nov 8 2012: It's too complicated, how are you going to check "a vision for the future" for factuality? Why not just do what every other developed country does and works well? Like I said, no need to reinvent the wheel.
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          Nov 8 2012: Same answer I offered 5 minutes ago.