Commentary: Reason, logic, and common sense missing from campaign ads

I no longer turn on the TV or radio, instead relying on print and some internet for my news and entertainment.

Every election season the media gets inundated with political ads and this year is no different. A presidential election year seems to bring out much more fervent ads that tell us nothing of any substance.

An alarming trend in political campaigning are the “attack” ads designed to generate a visceral reaction from potential voters. Extremist points of view and pandering to those points of view have corrupted how campaigns and ads are run now. The ads must work or those running for office would not stoop to this sort of tactic.

This year the ads not only are frankly disgusting in their messages but are far-reaching. TV, radio, the U.S. mail, newspapers, billboards, the Internet, and social media are blanketed. I cannot turn on the TV or listen to the radio without seeing or hearing a campaign ad every few minutes. I cannot drive down the highway without seeing a billboard screaming about how terrible a candidate’s opponent is.

Even more intrusive are the posts by friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that are supporters of either presidential candidate. Apparently, they must feel that if they fill up my inbox and Facebook page with these ads in an effort to appeal to my emotions I will somehow be convinced to vote for his or her candidate.


What is sadly lacking in virtually every race is information on a candidate’s platform. What is their position on the economy, immigration, health, poverty, jobs, terrorism, the debt, the Supreme Court, national defense, gun laws, and personal rights and freedoms?

It is guaranteed that the more mud someone is throwing at their opponent the less factual substance you will be able to find about them. We, unfortunately, seem to not only accept this type of political campaigning but embrace it.

I have posed a question to friends and family that are ardent supporters of either presidential candidate: “Tell me your candidate’s position on the important issues and why you feel they are correct, AND tell me their opponent’s position and why they are wrong.” Sadly I get responses that fail to address those positions and instead get emotional responses that mirror the ads.

We will continue to see attack ads disparaging his or her opponent until we, as voters, are able to separate the ridiculous rhetoric from factual information and vote accordingly. Until then we get what we are accepting now, candidates with ad campaigns that are unworthy of our vote and of holding office. This can change, but we have to be the ones that make the change.

Get offended and tell the screamers “no,” I no longer accept the shallow derogatory attacks and lack of substance from you. The reason, logic, and common sense need to make a comeback in how we view political candidates and how we vote.

If not, expect these types of political ads and campaigns to get worse, not better.

Tim Burke is a Pahrump resident

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