I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I HATE LIVING IN A “BATTLEGROUND STATE!”
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE living in Colorado! I just hate living where (thanks to SCOTUS and their misguided Citizens United decision) every ad on television is a political ad! They are getting truly hateful, and due to the fact that “corporations are people” and they can remain anonymous, they are largely untrue.
In our Senate Race, the Democrat has been noting for a number of weeks now that he is on a number of important committees, and has made reference to a number of initiatives he started. So, why is it that the Republican is saying that he is running a ‘one-issue’ race? You cannot sit through an entire commercial break without knowing that that statement is untrue.
I heard of a study (but have not been able to find it yet) that anonymous ads are more persuasive than the ones that are officially sanctioned by the campaigns. I have not seen the study, but I believe it. What is my evidence, granted, it is anecdotal, but it is as valid as some of the political ads one sees.
I was watching television in a waiting room recently – a political ad came on saying that our Senator is out-of-touch with reality and only ever talks about a woman’s right to abortion on-demand. I overheard a woman say to her husband that she agreed with the ad and that the Democrats seem to have nothing to run on other than the Abortion issue. This despite the fact that the commercial that preceded it was for the Democrat, and far from mentioning the Republican’s repeated sponsorship of the “Personhood Amendment,” it discussed his record on energy and highlighted the fact that his opponent claims to be green, but takes a majority of his funding from oil companies.
I have been told by people things that I know to be untrue that I have heard in political ads. One of my friends (of a particular political persuasion) parroted an attack ad to me recently. Luckily, it was someone who I knew well enough to challenge and when I asked for details underlying their statement, they were completely stumped. Not that I changed their mind, but the fact that this person would make such an assertion without any underlying evidence shows that these commercials encourage Confirmation Bias in its worst incarnation.
But that is not the worst of it! The worst of it is that some of these ads, if you parse what they are saying, and reduce the statements to their fundamentally essential meaning; they result to nothing more than name-calling. One example is the ad for the Republican who is running for a seat in Congress that shows an unflattering picture of his Democratic opponent. It plays a number of quotes from various places, introduced as “According to the Denver Post,” or “A Local Television Station calls…” and then giving character assessments of the candidate. What this ad does not tell you is that the quotes (at least those that I could find) come from the Opinion pages of the stated newspapers. So essentially, this ad boils-down to “…here are some unsubstantiated negative opinions of…” and nothing more.
But that is not the worst of it. If the add simply said that this person was not a good fit for the position, or that the opponent was better at it, I could dismiss it as just another political ad. But this ad goes further. It makes personal assessments of the candidate, calling him conceited, dishonest, power-hungry, and other names of that ilk.
I am not saying whether this is true or not, how would I know? But it shows the same childish incivility that has taken over the political process. I am so sick of this! Can we not just GROW-UP and have a civil discussion!? I am sure if we quit villainizing each other we would discover that our positions are not that vastly different. Well, if you omit the fringe minorities of the partisan positions, we’re not that far apart.
But, I guess that is too much to ask. Oh well – we’re only a few weeks away from the start of the 2016 political ad season! (Yeah!)
Wherever you are today, I hope that you are not being bombarded by childish political blather!
Don Bergquist – October 21, 0214 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA