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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.

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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: 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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