We hear it every day: “I’m sick of those political TV ads by candidates.” This sickness won’t be over until Nov. 7, the day after the general election.
Some of the ads contain outright lies, half-truths, are misleading, are in poor taste and are offensive not only to a candidate but to viewers. Yes, we can turn away from them and many of us do.
Are they effective in destroying a candidate? In some instances, they probably are. However, many voters already have made up their minds and the ads are meaningless to them. Those voters on the fence may be swayed. They are the main targets of the ads.
It is not amazing any more about the large number of voters who aren’t tuned in to politics or government and could care less about the election or the candidates. You can’t reach this segment of people. Most don’t bother to vote.
The consultants believe television is the only effective way to reach voters. The political consultants are mainly from a major city and they aren’t aware of the effectiveness of other local advertising mediums. For instance, community newspapers in the smaller cities and towns are well read — every page is looked at and most are well scanned and read. The consultants close their eyes to this inexpensive-compared-to-television medium.
Local candidates do use community newspapers to get their messages across and we know many veteran elected officials, incumbent and retired, who will tell you of the success they have had by advertising in community newspapers. It’s the state and federal candidates who are missing a golden opportunity to reach people by ignoring community newspapers.