Televisions, newspapers and the webs are being flooded by numerous campaign ads for the upcoming presidential election. I believe the media’s involvement in our daily lives influences each of us and can mold the way we think about current issues. The new campaign between Obama and Romney has began, and initiated a swarm of ads to be broadcasted all over media related sources.
An article recently published by The New York Times, Aggressive Ads for Obama, at the Ready, shows the public how the media’s role in the election process can influence the public and its affect on those who choose to use ads as a form to strengthen themselves and weaken their opponents. President Obama, as stated in the article, has decided to use $25 million to create advertisements. He has several attack ads prepared for his opponent, Mitt Romney, as well as ads that will promote him.
The article continues to give examples of Obama’s past ads that portrayed him as a strong leader and portrayed, 2008 Republican Candidate, John McCain “as out of touch and feeble.”
The day spent on Elections and Campaign ads has stuck with me and caused me to think the most out of all other topics studied in class. My views tend to center around the media because wherever I go, while on the way to school, listening to the radio, watching television, or leisurely surfing the web, I encounter at least on form, daily, of an ad promoting or criticizing a candidate. This class has opened my eyes to see what a ad really is. But, the ads are not the only thing that are important in the election, but the money behind the advertisements. We did not really go into the money behind certain areas of politics but simple covered the political influence on candidates money could bring. We did not take into account how that money could not only shape the way a candidate may think but how that money could be used to change the way the American public thinks. When we watch an ad we hardly ever pay attention to them but subconsciously we may catch certain words of interest and store that information within our minds. After viewing many campaign ads we could have potentially changed opinions on how we may think of the candidates we thought we supported. The fact that so much money is going into this area for political reasons seems ridiculous.
This election has currently spent $ 114.9 million (number may change) on advertisements all together, including democratic and republican ads. Only 28% of all the ads produced have been positive ads while 72% have been negative ads generally attacking an opponent.
Money influences the American public indirectly. It helps create and distribute the ads that are used to change our opinions. Monies role in government influences what politicians do but also the people who have voted them into offices.
Throughout this course and specifically the third trimester I have encountered several interesting topics that surround certain areas and aspects of our government. The main topic of my interest was how campaign commercials, or just the media in general, could have such a large influence on elections. It’s an incredible thought that a short 30 second video can have so much impact on the viewers and could sway their votes on a massive scale. The offensive, defensive, or just neutral ads share the common desire to gain support for the candidate.
Not only are commercials used, but perhaps small articles in newspapers or magazines, flyers, brochures, posters, and billboards, can sway the way a person may think of a candidate. The media’s influence in politics is something that has greatly interested me. I believe that in a way it’s a good idea to get the word out about a candidate and where they stand on issues through advertisements and other forms of media, but I believe that this has also caused candidates to stray from the issues and only concentrate on gaining support or taking it from someone else.
Campaign ads focus on television viewers and also people surfing the internet watching videos. Campaigns buy time on channels, choosing the channels where they know they can obtain many supporters, and also on the web, such as Youtube.com where at times you are forced to sit through an ad to view the video you are really interested in. Those few seconds spent on that channel or waiting for your video to stream can have an impact on a large percentage of the population.
The class day that was spent analyzing some past presidential campaign ads show the requirements for a “good” ad and a “bad” one that won’t cause much change of people’s opinions. People are quick to jump to conclusions when they view and ad, and it is evident how the ad wants to change a person at times. An ad that just simple gives information of candidate and portrays them as a bad choice may change a viewer’s opinion about the candidate even though no textual evidence is provided, over exaggerations are said, or the ad simply tells you that you should not vote for a candidate. If people really payed attention to ads they would be able to not only determine whether or not the information presented to them is accurate and indeed factual, but could come to the conclusion that the one being attacked may be in fact a better candidate. In my opinion when a certain candidate is attacked, i feel sympathy for them and feel that perhaps, if another candidate has to attack them, that the victim of the ad may in fact be a better choice and the attacker seems desperate.
Having learned about campaign commercials and how they want to sway the opinions of viewers has given me a different way to approach the media when it comes to politics. I have become cautious on my approach on the ads I may see while watching television, flipping through magazines or streaming videos.
In the following ad the candidate simply states what he has done and what he could do. He does not attack the other candidates and presents the facts with sources.
If most ads were like the one above, it would be nicer and the media’s influence would not be as great. Reporting the facts and promoting the candidate still sways opinion.
The next ad is one that provides not evidence and is made to be an attack ad.
This shows how media may try to change opinion and may easily succeed in it.
Media influences us directly or subconsciously, but it never stops sway people’s opinions one way or another. An “ideal” ad of any kind for a political issue should be neutral. It should show both negative and positive characteristics of candidates, show now direct preference for one or another. Promotion of a candidate should not be filtered by the “most” positive aspects of their career but should include a few negatives to balance things out. the restrictions or changes that “should” be done to the media would limit freedom of speech so they would not be able to be pass.