Opinion Top of the Ticket

Attack ads reach new lows in honesty and new highs in spending

Tens of thousands of campaign ads have been purchased from television stations in the swing states this year. In Ohio, for the presidential race alone, spending on TV advertisements is at $181 million and mounting.

The majority of these ads are negative -- and not just the mildly critical attacks of yore. Whoever is putting together political ads in 2012 has dispensed with any regard for decency, honesty or truth. For the voters who must suffer through them as the ads fill their television screens, the best rule of thumb is to assume they are all lies. It may not be the case in every instance, but accuracy is so rare that it is not worth the effort of trying to sift through the distortions and deceit to find the few nuggets of truth.

As the 2012 presidential race heads into its last weekend, it would be nice to discover that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on attack ads have been wasted -- that voters simply shut them out or shut them off and find their information about the candidates from credible sources, such as professional news organizations.

If the hobgoblins of democracy who create these ads become convinced that they do not work, they might just stop and let us have our TVs back.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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