Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Forgetting the Facts

Howard Kurtz has a great story in the Washington Post about the state of campaign advertising. He argues that the Bush and Kerry campaigns are pushing the limits or propriety by advertising against positions that they say their opponents hold, but actually don't. As Kurtz writes, it's nothing new to exaggerate the positions of one's political opponent to cast them in a bad light, but these go beyond that. They are the advertising equivalent of push-polling, disingenuously seeking to pin the opponent with blatantly false labels. Kurtz argues that there are two critical factors as to why this is happening. First is that the media sucks at calling the campaigns to task and embarrassing them for this behavior. Second, even when the media does, the campaigns are able to out-shout them through sheer volume of advertisements. It presents a strong argument in favor of strict campaign funding controls when the amount of money in the system overrides the ability of the media to serve as a watchdog for the public. And it certainly supports the arguments of media critics, like, oh, say Jon Stewart, that there is something seriously wrong with the way the media does their job.

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