Home > Uncategorized > Political ads: negativity, adwatches, and more (REACTION BLOG 3)

Political ads: negativity, adwatches, and more (REACTION BLOG 3)

What are some of the key things we have learned about political ads this week? Well first, people can gain information about candidates and issues from watching political ads and that they generally do not have sever negative impacts on the political process. Second, people have different motivations for what they hope to get from an advertisement (considering they have any motivations to begin with) and those motivations will influence what the viewer receives or gets out of the ad (Garramone, 1983). Next, issue ads that don’t explicitly advocate for the viewer to vote for or against a candidate are “not subject to campaign finance law restrictions as to spending limits and disclosure” (Pfau, Holbert, Szabo, & Kaminski, 2002, p. 301). Also, issue ads that are produced from a sponsor that isn’t a candidate are likely to avoid backlash that can happen when candidates attack their opponents (Pfau et al, 2002; Shen & Wu, 2002). Also, the media does participate in exposing ads and attempting to interrogate them, by participating in “adwatches” for the public. However, the media tends to focus on negative ads (duh), and they rarely do a very good job of critiquing (shocker).

Overall, the readings from this week are important because they extend upon some recurring themes from this semester. First, this idea that negative ads aren’t as bad as they seem. Just because they have the label of “negative” doesn’t mean they are inherently bad. In fact, research keeps showing us that they have value. Also, this week we learned that sponsors who are not affiliated with candidates can get away with negative advertising even more and without backlash to the candidate they support. This is interesting because if a candidate can have a good relationship with a PAC or other supporter then they could potentially work together to be a force to be reckoned with. Also, another theme that was elaborated on this week, is the role of the media. The media is what I like to call “weak sauce”. They are not very good at straying from the horse race and actually being critical interrogators of information, but I think we knew that (but now we can cite and back up this idea).

Finally, I would like to take a quick moment to think about how this information applies to the current campaign cycle. First, what type of adwatches have you been exposed to this campaign season? Personally, I have seen some blogs and newspapers talking about political ads, but typically these adwatches don’t engage in a serious critique of the ad. Factcheck.org seems to be one of the better sites that does investigate accusations made in ads. Do you have a site, organization, or example of a good adwatch? Next, here is a link to an organization that is making strong efforts to target candidates without explicitly asking for a vote http://www.crossroadsgps.org/. Therefore, this organization is an example of one of the many organizations that is putting out ads to participate in this years election while being able to sidestep some of the campaign advertising rules and regulations. I urge you to take a look at these ads and consider what role these ads play in elections and how they should fit within campaign advertising laws, rules, and regulations. Finally, although we know that attack ads have benefits, what do you think about this attack ad: http://hotair.com/archives/2010/09/27/video-worst-political-ad-ever/ Do you think it has value? If so, what value? And specifically, what value in relation to what we have learned so far about negative ads?

Categories: Uncategorized
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  1. September 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm

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