Why I miss Ross Perot: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama ads are full of outright lies
Mitt Romney and President Obama are taking a break today from negative campaigning in honor of Sept. 11. But that doesn't change the outright lies dominating political ads this season. We need a viable third party to help keep these two candidates and their super PACs honest.
Did you know that Mitt Romney is responsible for the death of a steel worker’s wife? Or that President Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare? Do you remember Mr. Obama’s famous “Apology Tour” that kicked off his first term? How about that then-Governor Romney outsourced thousands of Massachusetts jobs to India?Skip to next paragraph
Gallery Monitor Political Cartoons
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
It’s amazing what you can learn from ads in this year’s presidential campaign: namely, some of our political leaders and their supporters are lying. Not stretching the truth or spinning the facts (which we expect) but outright lying. While advertising shouldn’t be your main source of education, it also shouldn’t be a source of disinformation.
FactCheck.org has never been so busy. You can spend hours on their website, watching them pull threads that unravel almost every statement made in almost every political ad of this long campaign season. If you Google “lies in 2012 presidential campaign ads,” you get 224,000,000 hits.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this piece misidentified the name of the Annenberg Public Policy website FactCheck.org.]
As an American, I’m disgusted. As a guy who makes ads for a living, I’m shocked. (And it’s hard to shock an ad guy). Imagine Coke and Pepsi running ad campaigns that attack the other brand. And I don’t mean the kinds of entertaining ads that show Pepsi truck drivers surreptitiously trying to order a Coke at a restaurant. I mean attack ads like our presidential candidates and their Super PAC supporters are running. Twisting facts. Accusing the other side of horrible labor practices. Personal attacks on the other brand’s CEO.
Both soft-drink brands would pay a price for that kind of advertising. Consumers would punish them by taking their dollars elsewhere. Our free market would work. The No. 3 soda-maker would make headway. Ice tea sales would go up. Boutique brands like Jones Soda and Izze would reap the benefits.
Regardless of what you think about consumer advertising, you have to admit, it’s at a higher level than 90 percent of all political ads. It’s more entertaining, more artful, and yes, more honest. Contrary to what political candidates seem to think, you can move people without bashing the other side and without misusing facts. Consumer brands do it everyday. In fact, facts usually get in the way of persuasion. Most people make most of their decisions with their hearts, not their minds.