10/13/2010 12:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Truth in Campaign Advertising? (VIDEO)

Ron Howard took to the Huffington Post to advocate that campaign ads be refined into simple clips of the candidates posing in front of a flag talking about the issues. This is a terribly reckless idea -- for one, we may be exposed to what many candidates really think.

Politicians say the most agreeable things, and usually not much more. And while many candidates might like to sit and talk about the issues on camera, their reality is that they have to pay a ton of money to air even a 30 second spot. What could be one long message gets broken into a sound bite and pumped into heavy rotation hoping for immediate impact.

So what will that short message be? What will make people not just like you, but get to the polls to vote for you? Usually, fear. To make sure something is fearful enough, it is often exaggerated, if not distorted. This creates a shamelessness that many well-intentioned would-be public servants can't abide by, and opt out of getting involved.

The politicians we end up with have no problem making promises to people and taking money from businesses. Perhaps, if there was a truth in advertising requirement placed on campaign advertising, this would limit the amount of willful misrepresentation. Better still, since the airwaves are publicly owned, candidates should receive free airtime with other candidates. If candidates did not need to spend so much money on TV ads, they might not have to become so beholden to the biggest donors, but care more about voters.

Until then, getting the candid thoughts of today's professional politician might be too much to stomach -- like this chat with Rep. Richard Martin (R) from Ohio's 19th District. (Paul Gilmartin from TBS' Dinner & a Movie)

John Wellington Ennis's documentary in progress, PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes, covers the trials of newcomer candidates and explores Citizens United: You can help at

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