TED Conversations

edward long

Association of Old Crows


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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.

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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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