The Presidential Ad Season Begins in Earnest

Friday, August 17, 2012


(Priorities USA Action)

In the past month there have been high profile ads supporting both major presidential candidates. Many have skewered for being untrue. The Annenberg School's Kathleen Hall Jamieson says that in the post Citizens United world you can expect to see more ads and more inaccuracy than ever before.


Blood Orange - Can We Go Inside Now


Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [6]

Joeey from Lawrenceville, NJ

The Priorities USA Action ad has not been aired. No paid-for TV time to my knowledge. Their brilliance is how they leveraged no budget for purchasing air time to one of the most talked-about ads of the season so far. Brilliant!

Is that the *real* media manipulation story out of this situation?

Aug. 21 2012 08:11 AM
Brian from Flushing, Michigan

OTM failed on this one. There is, or should be, a major distinction between the ads put out by the candidates themselves, and those put out by 'supporting' groups. When you are doing analysis, the only fair and true comparisons should be "apples to apples". Compare candidate bought and paid for ads with one another and super-pac ads against each other.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming segment you are undoubtedly working on showing the reporting, the journalism, about the actual words coming out of the mouths of the candidates and the amount of truth contained therein. Or, more plainly, the segment on how the media is of little use to the public because they don't often enough (and I'm not saying never) provide the public service of the investigation of a politician's claims after they present in on air or in print.

Journalists are more a conduit of the political message, then being fierce defenders of the public interest as they report daily on candidates claims on the campaign trail. Airing wild untruths from a stump speach, with no fact checking once the cameras come back to the reporter or the studio are nothing but a free ad for that campaign, and, in that context, should be treated as such. Such "reporting" should be, IMHO, billed at the applicable advertising rate back to the candidate because there is no journalism involved.

A candidate's past belief, backed up by a voting record, should be the basis for followup questions during an interview, when a candidate takes a position 180 degrees from one on which they have much history. Especially when the issue at hand is central to the campaign and might explain how the candidate thinks.

If the issue is, say abortion, how did a candidate move from pro-life and donating to planned parenthood to supporting the elimination of Roe v. Wade and calling for abortion doctors to be jailed. The explanation about HOW that transition happened is what can provide a glimpse into the candidate on many levels.

I look forward to many more critical looks at the media and their lack of effective journalism and lack of understanding about economics, health care, voter fraud, the budget and other complicated issues facing our nation as they report on candidates and their positions during this election season.

Will a "Sara Ganim" of the 2012 presidential campaign emerge anytime soon? Let's hope so.

Aug. 21 2012 07:56 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

The continued campaign by the MSM against political ads is hypocrisy on stilts. No campaign ad has been quite as sleazy as the segment by Brian Ross and ABC News on Newt Gingrich's sex life, on the eve of the South Carolina primaries. The MSM says it is 'journalism' when done by the MSM, but that we need a bath after political attack ads. I highly doubt that the consumer makes such a distinction.

The MSM consists of corporations exercising political speech rights, too. I confess that I'm still capable of being shocked that the Obama Administration could go before the Supreme Court and argue explicitly that the government had the Constitutional right to ban any book, documentary, pamphlet, or whatever, if it (a) implicitly endorsed a candidate in an election 'season', and (b) was the product of a 'corporation'. I'm further shocked that the MSM is so far gone in its Democratic Party sympathies that it continues to try to frame the issue as 'corporate contributions' instead of 'the Obama administration, and four left-wing Supreme Court justices say to hell with the First Amendment if the latter conflicts with left-wing hostility to private organizations and their resources', which is essentially where things stand. Partisanship trumps principle again.

Aug. 20 2012 12:41 PM
Jeff from Toronto, Canada

You know, I really think that (unbroadcasted) ad about the steel mill worker who lost his wife to cancer is getting a lot of unfair attack from media people trying to show how balanced they are. It's the same sort of false objectivity that blames "both parties" for a lack of bipartisanship, when obviously Democrats hold on to principled positions like they're live grenades, while the GOP consider an agreement to be just an opportunity to demand more.

The key points the guy makes in the ad are (a) Bain took over his company, (b) he got laid off, (c) he lost his health insurance, (d) his wife delayed going to the doctor to avoid additional financial stress on the family, and (e) by the time she did go to the doctor, the diagnosis was untreatable and she died.

There are a lot of meaningless faux-attacks that have nothing to do with what is being said here -- like what Mitt's role was and when it was. Who cares whether Mitt was actively managing the company at the time the guy got laid off? What does that even mean? Mitt founded the company, created its business plan, developed its strategies, hired its key staff and reaped the profits. Everything Bain does to this very day is to some extent the moral action of Mitt Romney, still playing itself out.

But now we hear the wife had health insurance. Really? How much health insurance? What kind? What did it cover? What did it not? How many kids do they have? Was there a limit to the family's total annual claims? For God's sake, are journalists so out of touch that they don't know how many different categories of policies there are, all called "health insurance", foisted on American working people, who are then supposed to be grateful? And she had this insurance for 2 years. Okay. What happened then?

The point about her not being diagnosed for 5 years after her husband was laid off is a real stretch -- given that the main premise of the story is that she delayed her diagnosis till it was too late. Should she have gone to the doctor earlier? Well, duhrr!

Is the story thin and the whole ad out of bounds? I don't see how. In fact, the feebleness of the logic being used to supposedly undermine the credibility of the ad -- given the number of would-be media fact-checkers out there, desperately trying not to look like Obama stooges -- would itself suggest that the facts are likely solid.

Is the ad unassailable? Dunno. The point is that, up to now, it has not been successfully assailed.

Aug. 19 2012 01:52 PM
Frank DeCanio from Union City, NJ

I may be in the position of the boy in the fairy tale concerning the Emperor's New Clothes, but why have ads at all? Political elections are too important for a candidate to be chosen like a new car or Bounty towels. It is the job of a commercial advertiser to give an "impression" that his/her product is superior to another. It toots its own horn, and its virtues will be stacked in its favor. "In the world of advertizing there is no such thing as a lie, just an expedient exaggeration" Cary Grant's Thornhill smugly says in Hitchcock's film, North by Northwest. Well, when a posturing doctor in the old tobacco commercials says something like 9 out of ten doctors smoke, ie., Camels over other cigarettes!" that IS a lie and a dangerous one. While political commercials may not be hazardous to one's health, their content may steer voters in the wrong direction with dubious informational content. Since all commercials are "expedient exaggerations" and they are either misleading to the uninformed or ignored by those who know better, why not simply ban ALL political commercials and just have the candidates cross-examined on their records? Would that be too difficult?

Aug. 19 2012 11:05 AM

So which SuperPAC, working with which advertising agency, can out with that outrageous "They gonna put y'all back in chains!" ad?

What's that, you say? It was not a SuperPAC, or any 501(c)(3) or (4)? And not any 527 group?

It was the current Vice President of the United States?

Aug. 18 2012 07:21 AM

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