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Candidates have a legal right to lie to voters just about as much as they want

  1. Dec 23, 2004 #1
    That comes as a shock to many voters. After all, consumers have been protected for decades from false ads for commercial products. Shouldn't there be "truth-in-advertising" laws to protect voters , too?

    Turns out, that's a tougher question than you might imagine.


    http://www.factcheck.org/specialreports188.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2004 #2
    One of the many reasons why only around half of America votes...
     
  4. Dec 23, 2004 #3
    Cool, I did not know there was a real law that stated that. However, back in the early days people probably trusted politicians, and when they found out that they were liars, they probably took them to court. As for ads. They are all true, just the statistics are manipulated in a way to favor one politician.
     
  5. Dec 23, 2004 #4

    russ_watters

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    And so does the media. Gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling, doesn't it?
     
  6. Dec 23, 2004 #5
    Sounds like the creation of a "Department of Truth" would have Bi-Partisan support. You write your congressman, I'll write mine, and let's get this thing going!
     
  7. Dec 24, 2004 #6
    LIATHON 2004-May the best liar win. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Dec 25, 2004 #7
    I think that a 'truth in advertising' law would change very little. Most political ads aren't outright lies, just distortions of facts to suit that candidate's needs. Typically, a politician will emphasize his strong points, play heavily on his opponents weaknesses, and use enough double-speak to not lock themselves into one position or the other. When you can do that, why tell an outright lie that you can be called on?

    There *is* a truth in advertising mechanism though. If a candidate says something you think is BS, don't vote for him/her. Unfortunately, they're usually both big losers, so it's just a matter of picking the lesser of two evils.
     
  9. Dec 26, 2004 #8

    russ_watters

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    AKA "spin." And yes, politicians are very careful to avoid outright lies because they can be proven and make them look real bad.
     
  10. Dec 28, 2004 #9

    Gokul43201

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    I'm starting to think not. People are getting more and more jaded by dishonesty, and are either starting to take it for granted or are choosing to remain in ignorance of it. Telling outright untruths is not as risky as it used to be.

    Additionally, the media now just doesn't hold the politicians' feet to the fire anymore.

    Socrates used to indulge his favorite pastime by debating an idea against some randomly chosen opponent. And after defeating him in debate Soc would then debate with with the opposite viewpoint, and still win.

    To say two virtually antithetical things and make them both sound right, either (i) you must be very clever, or (ii) your audience must be stupid or uninformed.

    I think we now have a little bit of both right now.
     
  11. Dec 28, 2004 #10

    russ_watters

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    I couldn't disagree any more strongly - did you sleep through the last election? It was brutal, even without the CBS-vs-Bush thing. The negativity dominated the political ads and it dominated the news about the race.
    I kinda agree, but I'd still not characterize it as outright lies. Campaign promises, for example: you can't lie about something that hasn't happened yet.
    Now that I agree with completely.
     
  12. Dec 28, 2004 #11
    The ads didn't really hold their feet to the fire for what they did wrong, they were just misleading or false attacks. The news did very little. The CBS thing may have been the closest, but it was about something long past, and the fact that the documents were false made the whole fiasco about CBS and Dan Rather rather (pun not intended) than about bush's legitimately questionable record.

    Other than that, you had hannity and o'reilly bashing Kerry without merit, and you had some talk about this allegation and that viewpoint, but the news never busted anyone for anything. Were you there while the news led the war drumbeat? Even to this day, they will not tell you that the rationale was BS, which it undoubtedly was.
     
  13. Dec 29, 2004 #12

    Gokul43201

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    The only feet-firing I recall were the factchecks that CNN and MSNBC were doing on the talking points during the debates. There must have been more that doesn't come to mind immediately, but not because I was asleep.

    And I'm not specifically talking about election campaign news as much as things like the oh-so-rare press conferences and the occasional press interview.
     
  14. Dec 29, 2004 #13

    russ_watters

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    Well that's a little different: it isn't up to the media how many press conferences Bush has, its up to Bush.
     
  15. Dec 29, 2004 #14

    Gokul43201

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    Of course it isn't. But you'd expect them to show some spine when they do get that rare opportunity.

    Actually, I think my disappointment during press conferences is more a result of the evasiveness that one now comes to expect of a Press Secretary.
     
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