Ads are just shadings of reality

Russ Zimmer and Russ Zimmer

As the presidential election rolls closer — just over two months away — we television viewers in Ohio are treated to a barrage of ads from both candidates, both parties and political action committees (“” or “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” for example).

In fact, Ohio is not alone. About 20 states are seeing a similar frequency of TV ads. These states are known as the “battleground” states. The other 30 states apparently are already decided. What should bother Americans is the type of influence these 30-second ads may have on the voting public. Obviously both campaigns believe it to be significant since they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hopefully, the college-age voting public will seek out more information than the little that is given in these commercials shown in the middle of their favorite programs. If they are not double checking these ads for validity, they may find themselves misinformed.

Everybody knows President Bush has had a credibility problem ever since the WMDs (or “BLTs,” as Ali G. would call them) controversy. Indeed he remains true to form with his political ads, accusing Democratic candidate John Kerry of wanting to raise taxes $900 billion dollars. However, the Kerry campaign contends that the $900 billion dollar figure is completely false. It is false, but not completely.

Kerry wants to set up a health care plan that will cover over 25 million Americans who don’t have coverage currently. He also wants to reduce the deficit. The Bush ad refers to this as “government spending.” Health care and the rising deficit are two major concerns for the American people, yet Bush’s campaign has found a way to spin Kerry’s plan to remedy these problems into a weakness for Kerry.

The truth is Kerry has not released any budget estimates but many independent studies have pressured Kerry to explain where the money will come from.

Many have accused Kerry’s tax plan of not adding up and there may be some truth to that. Outsourcing — moving operations overseas — is a hot word nowadays and John Kerry loves to use it in his TV ads. Kerry claims he will end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs.

The problem is many economists think that there is little reason to believe that Kerry’s plan will end the problem of outsourcing — not that it is even the problem it is trumped up to be. Only 2.5 percent of the jobs lost in 2004 have been because of outsourcing.

Also, tax breaks are nice for big multinational corporations but it might be cheaper to set up shop in Guatemala and pay much less for their labor and maybe be closer to some other international markets.

The point is these two men are spending a lot of other people’s money to get into office, or to stay there. They will leave out some important facts or change the context of statement to win and they won’t think twice.

Personally, I’m sick of looking at these guys every time I’m watching “The Price Is Right.” Bush is a horrible actor and his commercials are so transparent in their subtle messages, such as Sept. 11th and God. As for John Kerry–let’s face it, the guy looks like a goblin.

E-mail Russ with comments at [email protected].