Eight reasons to hit ‘mute’ during TV ads by super PACs

Voters in GOP primaries have been the first to experience a coming deluge of TV advertising nationwide from so-called super PACs in the 2012 presidential election. By November, total spending by the special-interest political-action committees could exceed $1 billion, by some estimates, all with the aim to sway voters for or against candidates – most likely against.

TV viewers do have a choice of whether to listen to them, according to a "Monitor's View" editorial. It’s called the mute button. (The function was first designed in 1950 by Zenith when the owner of the TV maker become fed up with commercials.) Here are eight reasons to use it:

1. You are not alone if you dislike super PACs.

Reuters/Brian Snyder
Rick Santorum listens as fellow GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul chat during a break in a debate in Tampa, Florida Jan. 23. Spending by super PACs is expected to exceed $1 billion by some estimates. But there is a way voters can ignore their largely negative ads and corrupting influence: Hit the mute button.

Two-thirds of Americans who are aware of the groups’ emergence in politics say they will have a negative impact on elections, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Super PACs can spend unlimited amounts on behalf of a candidate.

Almost half of voters, however, have not heard of their existence. Super PACs sprang up after a 2010 Supreme Court ruling (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) that said institutions from corporations to unions have similar free-speech rights as people in campaigns – if super PACs are run independently of campaigns (a big if).

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