What Can Be Done About Super PAC Spending and Advertising?
In January, super PACs out fundraised and spent their aligned GOP candidates. Given that independent TV ads tend to be disportionately more negative than candidate ads, there has been a significant spike in negativity. As the WPost reports, "four years ago, just 6 percent of campaign advertising in the GOP primaries amounted to attacks on other Republicans; in this election, that figure has shot up to more than 50 percent, according to an analysis of advertising trends." Fueling the spike is the Romney campaign and their aligned super PAC. Close to $15 million was spent on negative ads by the aligned organizations, compared to half that much in positive advertising.
So what can be done? Groups are readying and lining up strategies to overturn Citizens United, but the prospects remain limited. This strategy also applies the mental model that the problem depends on limiting the supply of money in elections.
Yet what if we flip the frame and focus on reducing the demand for money? Options include dramatically shortening the primary season, moving the end of the primaries closer to election day, requiring that broadcasters provide free air time to candidates, and making it dramatically easier to vote. Each measure would reduce the overall cost of campaigning.
In terms of limiting the spread of false information, the Annenberg Policy Center announced an innovative approach today. The approach is in line with what social scientists and academics should be doing in helping society cope with the problem of polarization. In this case, we should be identifying and explaining a full scope of causes and proposing a broad menu of options that might be effective in addressing polarization.
See below from their announcement.
For Immediate Release: February 21, 2012
Jamieson is director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FlackCheck.org Launches “Stand by Your Ad” to Fight Deception in Super PAC and Other Third Party Political Advertising
TV and radio stations are required to air political ads by candidates for such federal offices as the presidency even if their content is blatantly deceptive. Not so the messages of outside groups. Instead, broadcasters have the right to bar so called “third party” ads or insist on the accuracy of those they decide to air. Ohio stations did just that when a group called “Building a Better Ohio” offered Ohio TV stations a deceptive ad last October. (To see the ad they rejected, go here.)
In the hope that local broadcasters around the country will follow the lead of these Ohio stations, APPC’s FlackCheck.org, the sister-site of the award-winning FactCheck.org, is calling on them to insist on the accuracy of ads by super PACs, the political parties and all of the other outside groups that arrive at their doorsteps with cash in hand. In service of this goal, the project urges those in local markets to applaud responsible station action and decry business-as-usual.
To assist station managers and viewers, FlackCheck.org’s “Media Watch” page is both flagging deceptive presidential ads in primary and caucus states and identifying the stations airing them. To make it easier for viewers to send words of encouragement or dismay to station managers, the FlackCheck.org “Stand By Your Ad” initiative provides them with the names of station managers, the e-mail addresses of stations and a sample letter that can be amended and sent directly from the viewer’s account.
“We urge broadcasters to insist on the accuracy of the third party ads, not just for the presidency, but across the board,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “We hope that stations will take the same care in screening out deceptions in the political ads of outside groups that they take in protecting their viewers from problematic product ads.”
To locate the FlackCheck.org “Stand By Your Ad” page, click http://www.flackcheck.org/stand-by-your-ad/ and then click on “Stations.”
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.