Advertising limits on campaigning

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  1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
    Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months ago

    No political advertising
    What if instead of a presidential candidate spending millions on advertising to prove he or she wants to be elected, we just made them say where they stand on the issues? What if all a candidate was allowed to do to promote her or his campaign was to sit for media interviews? How different would the outcome be? How much of a difference would it make in the way our government actually governs?

    I've had the opportunity to experience a presidential campaign exactly this way. My family was living overseas, and the only television programming we got was through the Armed Services Network, which is provided by the military and shows no commercial advertising. So while America was being inundated with direct mail, auto-telephone calls, and political ads on TV, billboards, in magazines and newspapers, the only information I received on those running was via the morning and evening network and cable news programs, Oprah, 60 minutes, 20/20 and the Sunday morning news forums, for which the candidates paid nothing.

    When I returned to the states just before the election, I realized I knew just as much about those who had thrown their hats in the ring as anybody else of average intelligence and attention span. And I had been spared a great deal of the hocus-pocus churned out by each camp's spin doctors.

    I'm sure as a direct result of this limited exposure, I cast my vote based on my own evaluation of the candidate's stand (or lack thereof) on the issues and not as a result of the questionable behavior political wannabes are capable of when it comes to campaign advertising. With the never-ending string of elected officials who get caught in unethical activities, I think it is time for the public to ask if we shouldn't put more restrictions on the cost of political campaigns and consequently, dry up the source of those exorbitant funds and politicians' obligation to those who provide them.

    If we must allow political advertising, here are some suggestions:

    Limit television advertising to the talking head of the candidate. Spare us any more footage of the other guy in a loop of highly edited soundbites or video with a voice over saying things the candidate would never say him/herself. If you want to get elected, sit in front of the camera and speak for yourself. It's not enough to say you approve the message that follows. Deliver the message yourself.

    Print advertising should be no more than a signed letter from the person seeking office to the person on the street. No more hiding behind attention grabbing visuals and Madison Avenue hype.

    And we might think about setting a date before which no advertising may be published or broadcast. Countries in Europe call for an election, and it's a done deal in a matter of weeks. The way we conduct elections in this country, if you don't get in our face years in advance, you don't stand a chance. These are not the days of the Pony Express or carrier pigeons. It is possible to be known to the average citizen in a matter of weeks just by hitting the talk show circuit. From what I've seen, those shows are only too willing to serve as a forum for any thing political.

    Finally, and most importantly, if we limit the onslaught of campaigning, maybe, possibly, we can only hope our elected officials might have some time left over actually to do what they are elected to do: govern. And govern free of obligation to those who paid their way into office.

    Imagine that. Thoughts?

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

      The very thought of putting our elections into the hands of a media that has shown itself to be biased almost beyond belief is frightening.  What happens when Oprah refuses to interview a candidate, or steers the "interview" where she wants it to go rather than what the candidate wants?  Not picking on Oprah, although her political leanings are no secret - the same holds true for all of the shows.  Our media has changed from reporting to completely biased commentary, and that is hardly a good thing for an election.

      At the same time I think we need to do something - it has become as much a matter of who has the deepest pockets (and is in hock the most to big contributors) and that needs to stop.  I just don't feel the answer is turning the results of our elections over to a handful of extremely biased media commentators.

      1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
        Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

        Wilderness, you make a good point. The ad-free experience I shared was back in the early 90s. The media has definitely become more "flavored" in the ensuing 30 years. Though I still think sitting for a variety of interviews keeps the candidates less scripted and more vulnerable to scrutiny than produced ads and speeches.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

          I would agree...except that candidates rarely answer the question asked.  They simply go off on whatever tangent they think will get them votes.

          I would love to have available a long questionnaire on a variety of subjects, with written comments on each.  No one will fill such a thing out, of course, because they then cannot change their stance according to who they are speaking to.

          1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
            Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

            "candidates rarely answer the question asked." It's a tactic I promoted myself when I left journalism and advised candidates.
            1. Don't lie. People always find out and you lose your credibility. (Back in the day anyway.)
            2. Don't feel required to answer any question you are asked if it is a "when did you stop beating your wife" kind of question.
            3. If you don't want to see it in print, don't say it anywhere to anybody.
            Those days are the main reason I feel strongly about political advertising. We make it way too easy to hoodwink the electorate.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

              Well, it seems to me it has become more of an effort to affect our emotions and feelings than give solid facts and platforms.  One reason why the opinions change so much depending on where and to whom it is being said.  If you're in, say, the deep south and favor abortion you simply refuse to discuss it.  Not lie, just don't discuss - if asked just answer some other (unasked) question.

              1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
                Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

                I think you are on to them!

    2. Brenda Arledge profile image81
      Brenda Arledgeposted 8 months agoin reply to this

      I would love to see the advertisements stop.

      All they do is cut down each other with mostly lies or not quite the truth.

      It's gotten to the point that I don't watch alot of television during elections.

      Plus...the door to door campaigns.

      It was fine tears ago when the local peron went door to door...but today that doesn't even happen.

      Its usually someone who has no ideal about there place in politics.

      So I'd take the kind you saw, but then again...
      Who is to say if anyone will ask the right questions.

      1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
        Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

        That is a risk you take in any case.

        My daughter has the right idea. She says she automatically dismisses anything she sees or hears in a political ad. She assumes its not true no matter what.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

          She is awfully close to being right, too.  IMO, of course.

          1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
            Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

            If you will forgive a Mother's pride, being Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum laude from the University of Richmond comes in handy sometimes.

        2. Brenda Arledge profile image81
          Brenda Arledgeposted 8 months agoin reply to this

          I'd have to agree.  Those political ads are usually way off target.

          I wish we could get back to a time when running for office was important for a man to stand by his principles.

          1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
            Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

            Lincoln Journal Star: ""I'm Blake Masters, and I approve this message." Why do candidates have to say that? It's actually the law. It was part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain–Feingold Act). It requires candidates for federal office to identify themselves and state that they approve of the message in their advertisements. The law has some detailed specifics and the Federal Election Commission even has examples from fictional candidates on its Youtube page.

  2. Readmikenow profile image94
    Readmikenowposted 8 months ago

    I think this is an excellent idea if you live in a communist country where the government controls free speech.

    In a free society, where people have freedom on expression and a right to free speech, it may not work so well.

    By doing this you are limiting people's ability to participate in the political process.  I don't like being told how much I can support a candidate.  I would reject those limits. 

    There is a price to pay for living in a free society.  Political ads, etc. are the price.  I'd rather have freedom than the government control my ability to participate in the political process, control my free speech and limit my freedom of expression.

    Members of my family grew up in a communist nation, and I have heard many things.  I visited the Ukraine/USSR for the first time in the late 1970s.  I can tell you, it is a world most Americans cannot comprehend.

    In my opinion, based on my life experiences, I believe this is a bad idea.

    1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
      Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

      " you are limiting people's ability to participate in the political process.  I don't like being told how much I can support a candidate."

      You may support your candidate to the extent the current laws allow, and there are already laws limiting that support. There are also already laws limiting people's ability to participate in the political process. They have been added to and reduced many times over the decades as new forms of communication have come into existence and reveled misuse.

      1. Readmikenow profile image94
        Readmikenowposted 8 months agoin reply to this

        "There are also already laws limiting people's ability to participate in the political process."

        What laws are you referring to?  State? Federal?

        1. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
          Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months agoin reply to this

          And local. They involve filing for office, meeting qualifications to run, receipt of donations, soliciting donations, disclosing assets and expenditures - to name only a few.

          1. Readmikenow profile image94
            Readmikenowposted 8 months agoin reply to this

            That is not limiting people's ability to participate in the political process, this is only putting requirements in place for participation. 

            Yes, I have helped candidates run for office and it is an involved process. 

            You still have a right to contribute as much money as you want to the candidate of your choice.  You can form a PAC and put together an advertisement for your candidate.  You can form a PAC and obtain as many donations as possible for you candidate.

            You can donate as much money as you want as an individual to your candidate. 

            I agree, there is an involved system you must follow for all of these things.

  3. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
    Kathleen Cochranposted 8 months ago

    "There is a price to pay for living in a free society."  Too true.

 
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