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irishjayhawk
09-17-2008, 01:32 PM
A modest proposal
It is illegal to make false claims in a TV or radio commercial unless you are running for political office.

If you’re selling toothpaste, your claims must be vetted by legal and medical professionals. But not if you’re selling a candidate.

If you’re selling a candidate, not only can you lie about his record, but more to the point, you can lie about his opponent.

These lies are seen and heard by millions, not only when they run as paid advertisements, but also when they are run again for free on 24-hour news networks hungry for controversy. And after they are run for free, they become talking points in an “unbiased” conversation that pretends there are two sides to every story, even when one side is lies. Two words: Swift Boat.

Lies, and a candidate’s embarrassing efforts to brush them aside, fill the news cycle and constitute the national discourse. And this terrifying and morally indefensible rupture from reality persists even when the country is on its knees.

If networks refuse to accept cigarette advertising, how can they readily approve dishonest political advertising? Cigarettes kill individuals, but lying political ads hurt the whole country. No democracy can afford this, let alone when the country is at war, and under existential threat from terrorists, and in economic free fall.

So here’s my idea. One that could actually work, if America’s networks remember they are Americans first, revenue seekers second.

Just as they once united to stamp out cigarette advertising, radio and TV stations and advertisers must get together and agree that false statements in political advertisements will not be tolerated. If you run a political ad that proves to be a lie, your network will pay a steep fine, and the advertiser will pay an even steeper one.

To avoid these crushing fines, networks will insist on proof of statements made in political advertisements, just as they demand proof of statements made in sugarless chewing gum commercials.

Political advertisers will not be able to lie about opponents. They will either have to attack opponents honestly, or talk about the actual issues facing the country, and how their candidate will solve those issues.

Imagine. We might hear ads about the banking crisis and how each candidate will address it.

Candidates might summarize their positions on Iraq and Afghanistan and end with links to more detailed positions on their websites.

The public might discuss the real issues facing us instead of manufactured Entertainment-Tonight-style “controversies.” People might even vote for candidates based on their resumes and positions on the issues.

It would be just like democracy.

http://www.zeldman.com/

Mr. Kotter
09-17-2008, 03:57 PM
The First Amendment's ugly side....is ugly. It's too bad many of those wishing to censor political speech which they may find offensive, aren't nearly as offended by many of the other aspects of our culture which hide behind the first amendment though.

I'm not saying it's right; I deplore cross-burnings.....as well as flag-burning. However, if we allow the profanity and vulgarities that many find 'indecent' (if, technically not 'obscene') then I find it pretty hypocritical for those same people (often it seems) to want to sensor political half-truths and hyperbole they consider 'lies' (if, technically not 'slander' or 'libel').

At least the Supreme Court, despite my disagreement with some of their First Amendment decisions....have been pretty consistent (even if many may consider them to be wrong) on the topic.

irishjayhawk
09-17-2008, 05:44 PM
The First Amendment's ugly side....is ugly. It's too bad many of those wishing to censor political speech which they may find offensive, aren't nearly as offended by many of the other aspects of our culture which hide behind the first amendment though.

I'm not saying it's right; I deplore cross-burnings.....as well as flag-burning. However, if we allow the profanity and vulgarities that many find 'indecent' (if, technically not 'obscene') then I find it pretty hypocritical for those same people (often it seems) to want to sensor political half-truths and hyperbole they consider 'lies' (if, technically not 'slander' or 'libel').

At least the Supreme Court, despite my disagreement with some of their First Amendment decisions....have been pretty consistent (even if many may consider them to be wrong) on the topic.

I don't see it as infringing on any First Amendment right.

I see it as any other commercial: it must be vetted. Otherwise, why not let anyone put any commercial on air. It would also beg the question if this is protected via First Amendment, nudity would as well. Which, of course, it isn't.

Guru
09-17-2008, 05:46 PM
Personally, I would like to see them ban political commercials. Debates, debates and more debates. As well as town halls.

Mr. Kotter
09-17-2008, 06:09 PM
I don't see it as infringing on any First Amendment right.

I see it as any other commercial: it must be vetted. Otherwise, why not let anyone put any commercial on air. It would also beg the question if this is protected via First Amendment, nudity would as well. Which, of course, it isn't.

:spock:

Eh, you need to read up on First Amendment law, then. Nudity, is....depending upon circumstances, is protected as "free expression" as part of the first amendment.

Regardless, there would be/is a great discretion and subjective judgment over what, precisely, constitutes a "lie." Way too much potential for a grey area.

Of course, blatant "lies" are subject to libel and slander laws.

Regarding censorship of political speech, you should research Buckley vs. Veleo...here's a synopsis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo

'Hamas' Jenkins
09-17-2008, 06:14 PM
Personally, I would like to see them ban political commercials. Debates, debates and more debates. As well as town halls.

Town halls are a joke. They are horrendously scripted affairs. If people really wanted "debate", they'd clamor for a Lincoln-Douglas debate.

irishjayhawk
09-17-2008, 06:16 PM
:spock:

Eh, you need to read up on First Amendment law, then. Nudity, is....depending upon circumstances, is protected as "free expression" as part of the first amendment.

Regardless, there would be/is a great discretion and subjective judgment over what, precisely, constitutes a "lie." Way too much potential for a grey area.

Of course, blatant "lies" are subject to libel and slander laws.

Regarding censorship of political speech, you should research Buckley vs. Veleo...here's a synopsis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo


Nudity is not allowed on over the air networks and though permitted on cable, it doesn't play. It is a 100% defensible Free Speech defense, yet it's never played.

I'm not saying people cannot say whatever they want to say. I'm saying the media, like the piece says, should take the stance that if you're going to use our airwaves for free, you should at least vet your claims. We want proof that these are accurate. It's the simple refusal to publicly aid lying.

It's like the public disavowing Fred Phelps. No one is stopping him from saying what he wants, but they aren't listening. In the same respect, the media could take that approach with respect to political ads. Make them true and honest and we'll play them free of charge. Don't and we'll request extraordinary amounts of money.

It's almost like taking back democracy and free speech than it is denying it. It's asking for an honest debate. It's asking for the rest of people to ignore the Phelpsian lies and propaganda, but no one's going to prevent them from saying it. Say it all you want, just not on the airwaves we, the media, own.

***SPRAYER
09-17-2008, 06:56 PM
Let's all become luddite's.

Mr. Kotter
09-17-2008, 08:07 PM
Nudity is not allowed on over the air networks and though permitted on cable, it doesn't play. It is a 100% defensible Free Speech defense, yet it's never played.

I'm not saying people cannot say whatever they want to say. I'm saying the media, like the piece says, should take the stance that if you're going to use our airwaves for free, you should at least vet your claims. We want proof that these are accurate. It's the simple refusal to publicly aid lying.

It's like the public disavowing Fred Phelps. No one is stopping him from saying what he wants, but they aren't listening. In the same respect, the media could take that approach with respect to political ads. Make them true and honest and we'll play them free of charge. Don't and we'll request extraordinary amounts of money.

It's almost like taking back democracy and free speech than it is denying it. It's asking for an honest debate. It's asking for the rest of people to ignore the Phelpsian lies and propaganda, but no one's going to prevent them from saying it. Say it all you want, just not on the airwaves we, the media, own.

Airwaves/political ads are paid, not free. They pay "normal" everyday rates.

"Lying" is subjective; it is not a can of worms anyone is going to open....unless, of course as I have said, it's libel or slander. There are existing laws to prevent both, presently.

Sure the media could open itself up to self-censorship, but that would not play well with the public....unless you could prove you were being even-handed about it. And unless it involves something clearly over the line....again, libel or slander.....good luck with that. It would only increase public perception of bias and partisanship in the media (whether conservative, or liberal....FOX or MSNBC, for instance.)

Your idea of what constitutes a "lie" is, likely, different from everyone else. WHO gets to decide?

:shrug:

irishjayhawk
09-17-2008, 09:15 PM
Airwaves/political ads are paid, not free. They pay "normal" everyday rates.

"Lying" is subjective; it is not a can of worms anyone is going to open....unless, of course as I have said, it's libel or slander. There are existing laws to prevent both, presently.

Sure the media could open itself up to self-censorship, but that would not play well with the public....unless you could prove you were being even-handed about it. And unless it involves something clearly over the line....again, libel or slander.....good luck with that. It would only increase public perception of bias and partisanship in the media (whether conservative, or liberal....FOX or MSNBC, for instance.)

Your idea of what constitutes a "lie" is, likely, different from everyone else. WHO gets to decide?

:shrug:

I don't know, most people agree that factcheck.org is pretty legit and non-partisan.