Nasty political ads are now entertainment. CNN tonight (7:00 EST) is presenting a show called “The Year’s Best Political Ads.” And by “best” we can suppose they do not mean the most cogent examples of civil civic discourse.
A negative ad in the Missouri Senate race, for example, is meaningless to a voter in California. So what could possibly interest that California voter in a Missouri political ad? That’s easy: drama, conflict, and nastiness. The issues be damned; this is good theater. What CNN will do tonight is turn the worst of our political process into entertainment. Is this something a “news organization” would do?
I suppose we can hope that CNN will use this as an opportunity to deconstruct the rhetoric of campaign ads, to enlighten voters about how these ads are conceived and produced, to make voters aware of who pays for these ads and how. Hmmmm…I don’t believe it. I’ll watch and report back.