With the midterm elections almost a month away, one thing that always shows up on every single TV channel, and now on places like YouTube and Hulu, is what’s known as political attack ads. These ads are supplied by one of the two major political parties and they are used to not show that their candidate is better than the other, but to show how their opponent is a horrible person.
Ever since I saw the infamous “Daisy” political ad that was shown to me in grade seven, I’ve always had a deep-seeded disgust for attack ads. For those of you who don’t know what the “Daisy” ad is, back when Lyndon B. Johnson was running for re-election in 1964, the Democratic Party released a very intense ad with a 2-year-old girl counting randomly as she picks petals off a daisy. When she says “nine” a man in the background starts counting backward from that number to zero. The camera then zooms into one of her eyes, which is now looking towards the sky. When the man reaches zero, the scene cuts to a nuclear explosion.
This was in response to Sen. Barry Goldwater’s campaign on using aggressive military tactics in the Vietnam War. The Democrats used this to their advantage by releasing this advertisement, which misled viewers into believing that Goldwater actually wanted to start World War III against the Soviet Union. Of course, this was never his intention. Even though the ad only aired once, it was one of the key factors in the reason why LBJ received over 66 percent of the popular vote and 486 electoral votes. Ever since then, attack ads have become more frequent, and more brutal.
The reason why the “Daisy” ad is relevant to my point is because most attack ads use similar tactics as a way of manipulating the voters into not voting for their opponent. They dig up small bits of information about their opponent and blow it out of proportion to the point, up where it actually looks like these people are inconsiderate, corrupt or just plain evil. Also, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino utilized the ad, targeting Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Some of my favorites are those that take previous ads that support their opponents, and show evidence that everything the ad is saying is a bunch of lies. An example of this would be an ad that was shown in New York’s 23rd district back in 2009, where the Republicans showed an ad that had their opponent say he created thousands of new jobs. The attack said he was not a businessman, but a lawyer, and he was using his skills as a lawyer to deceive the American people. While the fact that he was a lawyer was true, what they failed to mention, almost on purpose, was that before he received his law degree, he majored in business. This allowed him to focus his career on helping corporations create new jobs, which seemed to be on the verge of collapse due to the Great Recession.
The whole reason why attack ads exist in the first place is to exploit the fact that some people who vote are ignorant to politics and use only ads on television, and now the Internet, to base their opinions. If you really want to make an educated decision on whom you want to vote for, do what I do every time before I vote and conduct the research on whom you are voting for ahead of time. It not only will help you understand the candidates a little better, but it will also help you discover who really is full of it.