Toilet Paper Advertising Is More Honest Than Political Advertising

Writing on The Huffington Post, Sarah O’Leary makes the case that political advertising should be fact-checked:

Political advertising is the most important and persuasive weapon in a presidential campaign’s arsenal. Candidates, national committees and a variety of groups spend the vast majority of their war chest wealth, hundreds of millions of dollars, on TV, radio, Internet and print advertising. Allowing political advertising to proceed without even an eye batted by the advertising community, networks or government leads us freefalling down a treacherous abyss that will become even more disastrous over time. The ethical and moral corruption of a segment in the industry that cares for profit over ethos, networks that see dollar signs over accuracy and a government that seemingly couldn’t care less until there is public outrage is changing the face of our elections. For our nation’s sake, we must force our politicians and their advertisers to become, once and for all, politically correct.
In advertising, you have to tell the truth about consumer products and services or pay the expensive and often disastrous consequences. It seems only fair that those running for the highest office in the free world be held to the same standards as a tube of toothpaste.

Political advertising, as a form of political speech, is the most protected form of free speech there is. So I doubt you’ll ever see the ads held to a higher regulatory standard. Voters, just like they do when evaluating consumer products, have to make judgments in terms of which claims are true and which aren’t.
Besides, I won’t hold my breath for more regulation in political advertising. The simple truth is that politicians will always exempt themselves from regulations that they impose on other industries.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.