Different Attacks Ads, Same Old Lies

Posted by & filed under 2012 Election, An Independent Viewpoint, Citizens United, Controlled by Parties, Culture of Corruption, The IVA Angle, WTF?



Ever think that all the political attack ads you’ve seen from the Obama and Romney campaigns are starting to look exactly the same? There’s a reason why, explains Elizabeth Wilner for Ad Age, they’re all about the economy:

“The first presidential election since the financial crisis offers no shortage of economic ailments to advertise about, but few visuals to illustrate them in ways that really grab you. Slow growth and mounting debts don’t exactly make for heartstring-pulling video. The fiscal cliff is a legislative construct, not a scenic overlook. The padlocked factory gate has no equivalent in the service economy, and unemployment lines are increasingly moving online… Not helping matters is that so many advertisers are producing so many ads about the economy that the go-to visuals feel exhausted.

Of the 27 spots aired by big-spending presidential advertisers over the past month, 24 have focused on an economic issue or issues. Seven different advertisers produced them. Yet so many draw from the same checklist. Superimposed statistics, charts and signs. Newspaper headlines and TV talkers. American workers, either stressed out at home (in attackers’ ads) or high-fiving the visiting President Barack Obama at work (in his own).”

Most of these economy themed attack ads are filled with half truthful claims at best, and outright lies at worst:


In recent weeks, the Obama campaign has hit Romney hard on his Bain Capital record, alleging that he was an “outsourcer in chief” during his time at the helm. Surprise, surprise! Turns out these claims are completely overstated, although don’t expect them to stop anytime soon, since they’ve been very influential when tested on independent voters.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has seized on Obama’s “gaffe” about business – “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Of course, this remark was taken completely out of the context of President Obama’s speech at the time, but that didn’t stop the Romney campaign from running to the production room to make a dubious attack ad highlighting it. Oh and turns out the man in the ad below who built his business through “hard work and a little bit of luck…” Turns out that “luck” included over $1 million in Government loans. Lucky, indeed. Disingenuous advertising, certainly.

So if both of these ads are mostly untrue, why do we allow this practice to continue? Thanks to Citizens United, Super PACS, and the Obama Campaign’s finely tuned fundraising machine, record amounts will be spent on misinforming the American people in 2012. Where is the accountability? As comedian Lewis Black highlighted on last night’s Daily Show – why is it that Nutella is held responsible for lies in advertising, but our presidential candidates and politicians aren’t? Black said it best last night when he quipped:

“Campaigns have finally arrived in the 21st century; they can produce bullsh*t at the same rate as actual bulls.”

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