Ethics of Political Advertising

            In recent years, more and more attention has been brought to the subject of advertising and how it effects its viewers. Many people believe that there is too much sex and violence in advertisements and they want to put a stop to it. These people believe that sex really doesn't sell and it shouldn't be allowed to be put into the media. On the other hand, there are people that are firm believers in the idea that sex and violence sell. These people have a strong idea that the public wants to see this kind of thing, and it aids heavily in the promotion of the product. Also included in this, is political advertising. Candidates have used advertising for many different reasons. It has been used ". to create and develop their images, explain their platforms, and communicate various types of messages to the public” (Kates 1871). Advertising on television is a very useful tool for candidates across the nation. It provides the general public with the knowledge of who the candidate is, and where he or she stands on the issues. However, it can also be used to slander ones opponent. When election time rolls around, you can be sure to see television commercials that say something bad about a candidate, and something good about his or her opponent (who has paid for the commercial). "Political advertising is believed to work under certain conditions for certain types of voters and for certain types of purposes such as image development, agenda setting, or attacking opponents” (Kates 1871). .

             There are certain ethics that can be applied to this situation. Many questions that can be asked are: "does political advertising encourage or discourage voters from participating, thus harming the democratic process? Do politicians exaggerate claims or stretch the truth, creating a negative impression of the political system? Can negative advertising create a cynical environment in which voters are discouraged from voting” (Kates 1871-1872)? These are all major questions that a candidate has to deal with before he or she can decide what kind of campaign they are going to run.

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