Should TV Stations Ban False Political Ads?

Here’s an interesting question to ponder; please go to link to read the complete article at The Balance by Glenn Halbrooks.

images-1.jpg“Lies!” That’s what many politicians would say after seeing an opponent’s campaign ad on television. Those politicians often demand that TV stations ban advertisements that they claim contain false information.

Voters often wonder why TV stations don’t investigate political advertisements to verify their truthfulness before allowing them to be shown on television. That way, the alleged lies never hit the airwaves.

There are several reasons that TV stations don’t do this. [read article for full details]

The Government Prevents Stations from Censoring Political Ads

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency that regulates broadcasters and sets the rules for the way TV and radio stations operate. If you study the Communications Act of 1934, you’ll find a long list of requirements governing how stations must accept political advertising.

Who Determines What Makes a Political Ad False?

If TV stations were allowed to censor political ads, it still would be extremely tough to determine what makes a political ad false. Without some guidelines, every political candidate would claim that every one of their opponents’ ads was filled with falsehoods while their own ads were beacons of truth.

Fact-Checking Ads Can Be Impractical

For voters, having an attitude of “buyer beware” applies to political commercials, just as it would for some incredible new product that seems too good to be true. The more voters educate themselves, the more skeptical they will likely be when they see campaign ads designed to sway their vote.

This article fails to mention what might be the bottom-line of the argument: low information voters. Fact is, this country selects its political direction through ignorance or indifference, being influenced more by citizens who have no clue what the issues are or who respond to a political message with their emotions rather than their brains or who are just not accepting that there are any options outside of their allegiance to some ideology they have neither critically examined nor considered exactly what value it may actually have to their lives.

Or sometimes voters are operating on a hidden agenda. A wonderful example of this is the religious right and values voters who are supporting the Republican nominee for President of the United States. I guess the fact that Trump has broken every one of the Ten Commandments several times over is insufficient proof that Trump is not squeaky clean and chock-full of family values … just ask the two Corinthians, take a Tic Tac, and turn toward Moscow to see your future.

One response

  1. Low information voters?? How kindly put! This lack of civility has been a problem for a least 8 years, led ever-so-dramatically by Mitch McConnell on the day President Obama was inaugurated. It is clear that the threats, lies and astonishing bigotry demonstrated by so many candidates does not bother–may in fact thrill–far to many voters.

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