Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dirty Politics

If I get one more automated telephone call telling me Barack Obama is a terrorist with an extreme liberal agenda, I'm going to put an Obama sign in my front yard and light it at night, and put a video of my mother seeing it and fainting on You Tube.

Some of things I'm seeing and hearing from McCain and Palin rallies are scaring me half to death. At least McCain finally told a little old lady, No. He's not. He's a good man. But Palin and the GOP are reminding me of something out of "All The King's Men." Or worse, George Wallace. (Irony Alert: Wallace was a Democrat.)

So why is this hi-octane crap being shoveled into my phone? Because political candidates are exempt from the National Do Not Call Registry, a loophole in the law that is intended to allow political freedom.

Also, it's a lot harder to track this bovine excrement when it comes over your telephone. Automated dialers - illegal for business oriented telemarketing - can be set up and taken out of any basement in any city in any state... or country. If anyone were to actually take the effort to track these guys down, all they'd find is an empty room by the time they found it.

But, if you buy advertising time on TV, local or network, somebody has to sign for it. There's a paper trail. The FCC is watching. Everybody has to be at their best behavior. You can say, "Obama voted to kill babies," as long as you sight your source by putting that little graphic at the bottom of the screen in microscopic font that even we in master control with HD direct monitors can't read.

But the question I have is this: Why aren't political ads held to the FTC's Truth in Advertising law? If it's illegal for Coke to run an ad saying "Pepsi is poison, with a liberal agenda that'll raise your taxes," why is it legal for McCain and the Republicans? If Viagra can't show a person taking a pill and saying, "Wow. Good thing I didn't take Cialis, which has terrorist friends," why should Palin get away with it?

According to the FTC website:

As with any other form of advertising or promotion, claims made through telemarketing must be truthful and substantiated.

Don't tell me it's for the sake of political freedom. The First Amendment doesn't cover libel, slander, or outright deception. If political campaigns were held to the same ethical standards in advertising as a local window company, these party politics flunkies wouldn't have any feces to sling and they'd have to get real jobs.

And my phone would stop ringing.

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