Americans National University Political advertisements have been a pervasive part of politics In the united States since the dawn of television. Presidential candidates have been making an appearance In the living rooms of Americans since Dwight D. Eisenhower Introduced a series of short campaign ads to the world of television during his presidential race (livingroomcandidate. Org par-I, 2012).
From the beginning researchers regarded television as a medium that had the potential to allow people to become more informed, and therefore more included leading to a nonpartisan democracy Chirurgic, Coleman, & Blubber, 2009). Individuals who, in the past, had limited access to current affairs have been able to gain a different impression of politics through the medium of television. As television became a comfortable medium for politics, electoral democracies became a game of “power, persuasion, monopolizing support for policies and politicians, and accumulating votes” (Chirurgic, Coleman, & Blubber, 2009).
In this paper the writer will attempt to analyze the impact of political television ads on democracy. Throughout political history politicians have used an ray of methods such as speeches, advertising, and political rallies to obtain the winning vote, however political television ads became a popular theme in the race for president. Political attack ads are as old as television and made their first appearance in 1952 in which republicans would give one answer to one group and give a completely different answer to the same question to another group (Greer, 2006).
Because of this the opposing party could not be trusted. Some of these ads had quite a lasting effect but none more than the President Johnny’s ad “Daisy Girl” that sutured a little girl picking the petals off of a daisy then fades into a nuclear bomb going off (Greer, 2006). The ad was a response to Barry Goldwater statement regarding using nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War. Although the ad was only aired once before being pulled from television, many believe It’s Impact was what led to Johnson winning the presidential race In 1964 (Greer, 2006).
For more than sixty years politics and television have existed In a state of reciprocated dependence. Politics provides the raw materials while television packages It, subtly reconstructs It, and livers It to the audience (Currently, Coleman, Blubber, 2009). Political advertising has become an Indispensable campaign strategy and many people regard It as fairly obtrusive. Political advertisers are not liable to any regulatory organization, voluntary or otherwise, for the accuracy of their claims (lounger, Prior, 1999).
Political ads are complaining about the objectivity of the comments made about them. While television has become a fundamental part of the political process it, in turn, has widely contributed to De-plasticization (Chirurgic, Coleman, & Blubber, 2009). Greer ascertains that poll after poll confirms that the electoral process is marked by cynicism and dissatisfaction with contemporary campaign discourse (2006). Nearly 60% of the public in the year 2000 was dissatisfied with how candidates conduct their campaign (Greer, 2006).
The focus has moved from political discourse to the personalities and faces of political leaders. Because the focus has turned to spectacle rather than ideas the educational value of election campaigns has greatly diminished. Televised presidential debates have become a battle of physical style which has moved our culture towards a new way of conducting important business Postman, 2005). The lines between show business and political discourse become more blurred with each passing day. Americans tend to have a negative preconception towards political campaign ads.
They are inclined to believe that such attack ads undermine not only the election but the democratic government as well. John Greer Author of In Defense of Negativity disagrees with this theory. Greer believes that these political ads enrich the democratic process, providing voters with relevant and substantial information before they head to the polls as they are pitched battles for control of the government (2006). Greer points out that exaggeration in political ads not only apply to negative ads, but to positive election propaganda as well (2006).
Many ads point out the positive aspects of a candidates race to become president such as President Reggae’s advertisement of his tax cuts, however he failed to mention the tax increase he previously signed into law. This ad and other similar political ads were not labeled as misleading (Greer, 2006). Americans tend to assume that positive political ads are practical and truthful. Greer states that Bob Squire once said “most lies in politics are told in positive ads” (Greer, 006). This statement asserts that regardless of the content of the ad it is impossible to truly assess whether or not the ad is misleading.
Political attack ads have branched off from the television and people are now turning to the internet for their political news. The television trend is currently on a downward spiral. According to research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project the number of Americans going to the internet for their presidential election campaign news has increased by 23% since 2004 while those relying on television dropped by 4% (Pew, 2008). The most popular internet resources are blobs, comedy sites, government websites, candidate sites or alternative sites (Chirurgic, Coleman, & Blubber, 2009).
Audiences are increasingly becoming active participants in public communication, as senders as well as addressees of mass-circulating messages (Chirurgic, Coleman, & Blubber, 2009). Through the internet medium American audience members can intervene and participate in political discourse with a gradation of value that was impossible even twenty years ago. Political advertisement, whether positive or negative, will always mom with a degree of fabrication that misleads one American or another.
Political ads set the stage for campaigning and are what gets Americans involved in democracy whether it is a commercial you watched on Television or a Youth video. Americans have been able to gain a sense of involvement that was not possible offended by political attack ads, Greer believes that positive political ads can be Just as misleading if not more. Regardless of the general consensus, political attack ads have gotten the public more involved in not only their local politics, but their national politics as well. References Greer, John G. 2006).
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