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Richard Geldard

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A Remote Solution

Posted: 02/23/2012 9:23 am

No one, I'm sure, is looking forward to the inundation of super PAC ads coming to our TV screens for the next eight months. For the most part, given the evidence of their present tone and content, these ads will not only be negative but also near libelous. And until we have a constitutional amendment banning such ads, the 1% and the 0.1% will spend their not-so-hard-earned dollars paying for them and then sitting in their solariums enjoying their handiwork.

One obvious solution for us 99% is to mute all political advertising when it appears or briefly switch to the Weather Channel to see where the tornados are brewing. I wonder if the creators of these ads actually believe that people will watch and listen to their nonsense and distortions. I'm old enough to remember when, remoteless, we had no choice except to get up and walk to the TV if we wanted to change channels -- thankfully, no more, especially when getting out of the chair is more difficult.

Now that all ads appear every thirteen minutes (except for wonderfully slow baseball innings) and all channels are synced to the same schedule, muting advertising is the only way we stay reasonably sane, and remaining sane is of utmost importance, especially in electing a president.

Super PAC ads do not inform. They influence viscerally, and are like home invasions. The creators of these ads manipulate viewer emotions through small bites of facial expression, images of violence, phrases out of context, distortion of fact and innuendo based on fear and anxiety, all this while we are most vulnerable, trying to relax after a demanding day.

The only way to make a sound choice for president is to consciously choose to listen to a candidate, or you're lucky enough to see the candidate live. My daughter, who lives in Massachusetts, recently met and talked to Elizabeth Warren and told her that she was so grateful to meet a candidate who spoke clearly to her own values and hopes for the country. But, of course, that's a rare privilege indeed.

Listening to a candidate speak to the issues, either in debate or speeches is the only way to gauge to what extent he or she speaks to your own values and convictions. And we cannot arrive at that convergence by listening to advertising. So, keep your finger on the mute button this summer and fall and have a conversation instead.

 
 
 

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