Maggie Smith / Uncategorized

Voter Beware: Bias, Spin and Lies in 2012 Election Advertisements (Maggie Smith)

It’s never too early to start thinking about the future of the country and who you plan to vote for in the 2012 election, which is less than a year away — can you believe it? Advertisements for the 2012 campaign are coming out and soon it will be difficult to escape the barrage of them. But with so many different ad tactics used, it is difficult to know which are biased, which are truthful and which are simply lies.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s very first political ad for the 2012 campaign came out recently and,according to The Huffington Post, it is a lie.

In Romney’s ad, he allegedly took a quote from Barack Obama and used it out of context. Of course, Republicans and Democrats alike are upset about this. But what can we expect? Underhanded techniques have been used in elections since democracy first began. There is no such thing as politics without bias, corruption or without selectively using phrases in order to display one candidate’s views and platform in a less-than-favorable light.

This ad doesn’t do much to set the election off on the right foot — or make Republicans look good. To make things worse for Romney, the Democratic National Committee has put forth an ad that parodies a movie trailer. Entitled “Mitt vs. Mitt,” it showcases the presidential candidate saying that he is pro-choice in one instance, then saying he is pro-life in another. The video says Romney is “willing to say anything” in order to be elected, even if his views are obviously conflicted.

One of President Obama’s ads for the 2012 election doesn’t include his stances on any of the pertinent issues of the election; it’s more about him searching for grassroots support in his campaign. This “asking for help” advertising strategy definitely seems a lot more ethical than making another candidate look like a hypocrite.

An ad from the Tennessee College Republican Committee acknowledges that a big reason Obama won the 2008 election was the platform of young people who voted for him. But now these same young people have wised up. They compare Obama to Santa Claus, someone who promised the gifts of hope and change, but “Santa didn’t charge” for his gifts. This ad is good because it doesn’t smear Obama — it’s just some college kids talking about how the president’s work has disappointed them — and it shows that college kids are taking a stand for what they believe. It didn’t come from any particular group of lobbyists or people who are “in the pockets” of politicians.

Ron Paul’s campaign put forth an ad against conservative rival Newt Gingrich. This ad parodies a trailer for a thriller movie and presents Gingrich as a “lobbyist” and “Washington insider.” In order to back up Paul’s points about Gingrich, he has employed conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, which is sure to appeal to Paul’s intended audience. But are Gingrich supporters getting a fair picture of him?

One of the most difficult aspects of deciding who and what to vote for in the upcoming election is trying to search for truly unbiased material about the candidates and the issues. Advertising that promotes its “product” in a fair light is hard to come by these days. Anything from the media is suspect, as media outlets are purported to be biased towards whoever pays them the most.

No matter who you’re planning to vote for in the upcoming election, make sure your decision is an informed one, and that you won’t be swayed by the slick veneer of ads, bias or outright untruth. Stand up for what you believe, read widely on both sides of the issues and vote accordingly.

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