Issue advocacy ads


Issue advocacy ads

Issue Advocacy Ads are a type of advertisement that is used in political campaigns.

It has been a political tool dating back to the invention of TV and radio. In modern history, issue advocacy advertisements have become more distasteful. These advertisements originate from the power of soft money, which is used to fund numerous campaign efforts. Soft money can pay for different campaign expenses, get out the vote drives, or can be transferred to local and state parties. (Hershey P.234). Soft money is a prominent source for issue advocacy ads. Since political campaign ads cannot contain the magic words; “vote for”, “elect”, “support”, or “oppose”, they use events and issues in current history to show how poor or strong a politicians efforts have been. These ads Issue advocacy and do not express advocacy. It is protected by the 1st amendment right of freedom to expression. These typically depict how a political leader voted.

For example, in during the 2004 U.S Presidential elections between the incumbent George W. Bush and the challenger John Kerry, a PAC named Progress of America, ran an advert on TV that showed the horrors of terrorist and stated that Osama Bin Laden and Al-qaeda want to kill American citizens. At the end they asked” Would you trust Kerry against these killers?” “George Bush did not start this War, but he will end it”. Technically these campaign ads did not use the magic words therefore by FECA regulations it was legal. The main message behind this ad was that Kerry is not stern and brave enough as Bush is, therefore in order to end the war in Iraq, America needs to re-elect Bush. This worked and the message got across the nation as Bush was elected for a second term. These ads gave corporations, unions, donors and PAC’s a perfectly legal way to spend money to support a candidate with out attracting negative tension from FECA. As a result to the success of thee ads, voices and ideas of campaigns have started to be drowned out due to the growing number of ads speaking for them or speaking against them.


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