Whether it’s sloppy mistakes during speeches or interviews, lies, funding schemes, insults, or secrets pulled out of the past, elections are messy. They are convoluted, truth-twisting, nasty affairs (I apologize to anyone who really likes the elections, I guess Politics 101 has already made me a little cynical).
Since the beginning of the semester, I have been paying a lot more attention to the various ways that the candidates go about promoting themselves. Perhaps it is as a result of living in Beijing last year, or being in Canada for the whole summer, or maybe it is because this is the first election I am eligible to vote in, but either way, in the past, I was never really aware of all the dirty scheming and plotting that seemingly constitutes political campaigns. In particular, I was not aware of the extremity of the political ads aired on TV.
Just to set things straight, I do not think that “bashing” or “slamming” the opposing party is a bad idea. In fact, I don’t see how two people vying for the votes of the entire American population could avoid it. The elections are a battle, and each of the candidates are simply doing what they feel is necessary in order to win.
What I do take offense to however is the fact that the commercials are untrue, and portray false evidence and messages to the naïve public. In an interview Tuesday with CNN reporter Jim Acosta regarding the above Romney campaign ad that has repeatedly been proven false by multiple fact-checkers, journalists and organizations, Romney would not admit that his advertisement stretched the truth, and lied to the viewers about what the Obama administration has done in regards to the welfare policy. Romney claimed that all of his ads have been “absolutely spot on,” telling the reporter to “look at the facts” himself. Campaign advisors also backed Romney’s claims, and state that if there is ever anything inaccurate in their ads, it is removed. This is not the first time Romney’s ads have been found untrue. The slideshow at the bottom of this Huffington Post article from August shows more examples of his claims not adding up.
Similarly, the Obama’s campaign recently launched a new offensive, shown below, to be aired in Ohio during Romney’s campaign there this week. “Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, he should come clean on his,” the ad’s narrator says of Romney, another example of the two politicians abrasively insulting each other via their ad campaigns. Like the Republican candidate’s video, the Obama ad has sparked a lot of discussion. I feel that this ad, in its own way, is also a negative advertising scheme, because it targets Candidate Romney, and not anything to do with the country and its current problems, which in my opinion, is what the public should be being made aware of.
With just six weeks left until the election, I am not surprised to see these kinds of biting, spiteful ads airing for the American public. However, I am surprised to see that many of the ads are not based on complete truths, and seek to influence voters by portraying false or very harsh and biased images of the two nominees. Truthfully, these ads are neither good nor bad, for they do serve their purpose – they get people talking, and they do sway people’s opinions, something that is really crucial. Nevertheless, they promote a slimy image of the elections; something that I find makes the entire process quite off-putting.
– Emma Woroch