I Approve This Message

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act, includes a provision where political candidates, running for public office at the federal level, must identify their own political advertisements with the phrase, “I approve this message.”  This idea was intended to discourage candidates from running negative ads on television or radio.  However, when ads are produced and aired by outside organizations, such as interest groups or political parties, they acknowledge that their ads are not affiliated with any candidates or campaign committees.  In effect, the interest group or political party is letting the audience know that the ads are independent of any candidate.  Candidates for state office are not required to have an “approval” message included in their ads.

Here are two recent examples of candidates utilizing the phrase.  One ad is a positive.  The other is negative.

What is your opinion on the “I approve this message” provision?

17 responses to “I Approve This Message

  1. I don’t think it’s absolutely good or terribly bad. I do think it can add some seriousness to the message being displayed. If I hear an approval message I usually take it a bit more serious and may pay attention the second time around. To me, the approval message can get more attention to the message because there’s a candidate backing it up.

  2. I think the approval message is essential and necessary to be said by the person. I take the message on the television cautiously putting a “I approved this message” at the end enhance the credibility. Attacking other candidate is a common strategy use during the campaign. It will usually turn dirty and becomes personal.

  3. shannon siaperas

    I think it’s a good idea for a politician to say “I approve this message”. While they are attacking an opponent it’s a good thing to let the public know that they are on board with what the commercial is saying. Also the public will take the commercial more seriously by having them say “I approve this message.”

  4. While I think it is good that a politician says “I approve this message”, we still don’t know that this person is telling the truth. For all we know this is a lie and all they want is you vote. It is better now that we see this because we know where this politician stands.

  5. To have a candidate say “I approve this message”, I’m not sure I believe it when it is added into the negative ads because anyone can create an ad without permission. However, hearing that I am curious when it comes to what they have to say considering “I approve this message” normally means they are going to state their ideas and plans. It also sounds more professional and a serioous outlook on the matters so people know they mean business.

  6. i believe that when a candidate says “I approve this message” it help us to gain an insight into what the are about. if they do it in a negative way just flat out bashing the other candidate they are probably not going to be a very good leader on the other hand when it is a positive message it appears that they are just looking out for the countries best interests.

  7. Ania Tomaszewski

    When the candidate says “I approve this message” it usually means they know what the message was saying. Whether the message is negative or positive it may show that the candidate was in the decision making process. This can tell us how the candidate might be running things if he wins. Overall, adding that in to something, may put a positive stamp on it.

  8. The ineffectiveness of the McCain-Feingold Act is apparent in the superficiality of the differences in the messages. Is there really a difference in the canidate approved, I am the better or more qualified candidate, or the political action committee ad that the opposing candidate is ineffectual or unqualified. Personal approval aside, the only difference in the message is that one says “I’m great” and the other says “He sucks”.

  9. I believe that “I approved this message” is vital to the running of ads. I feel this way because different organizations can pretty much say and run whatever they want. So it’s important to know if the candidates support what is being portrayed in the ad that’s being ran.

  10. James Savaiano

    In my personal opinion, I believe “I approve this message” could mostly be a negative thing. It could be a negative thing because the candidate could be lying about what he will do for the country. Also, anyone could make up their own message to make the candidate look worse. However, it could also be a positive thing because people would take the commercial more seriously as well as what the candidate will for the country.

  11. Requiring candidates to associate their own names with their ads is a good thing. This discourages ridiculous statements against opponents because it is much easier to link a candidate to lying. Of course, this doesn’t stop all lies. Romney has been caught in a few lies, and continued lying. His lack of shame defeated the purpose of candidates being required to connect their ads to their own names.

  12. Cristina Calderon

    First, I like that in the Obama commercial he says “I approve this message” at the beginning of the commercial. It makes me pay attention right away. When they say it at the end, I probably already ignored the commercial and by the time I hear the “approval” message it’s too late. I didn’t know that the required message was intended to discourage candidates from running negative ads. I think that despite the provision, candidates run negative ads anyway. Obama’s ad was negative. Also, candidates easily get around this provision by having the negative ads paid for by the outside organizations instead of using their personal campaign money.

  13. Katherine Didier

    I really do not think that making the candidate say “I approve this message” will hinder and negative attacks on their opponent. The candidates are not portrayed as friendly throughout the campaign because they have differing opinions and because they always think that their way is better. Saying how you are more qualified to run the country and explaining the downfalls of your opponent does not seem beneath politicians. Very little is.

  14. When candidates use the phrase “I approve this message” I believe it draws people to the commercial more and actually pay attention to it. Although the McCain-Feingold Act was created to get rid of negative ads … I don’t think it really makes a difference since the second video shown above was “approved by Obama” but yet it is negative.

  15. It’s a good idea to validate a candidates message with “I approve this message.” Although commercials from non-affiliated groups must state that they are non-affiliated, people often confuse them for the candidates own commercials. This could actually end up hurting the candidate in the long run. At least if the candidate puts their seal of approval on their commercial, even if it’s a negative one, that allows the reader to understand one more thing about their candidate.

  16. Apparently the “I approve this message” phrase has not stopped candidates from running negative ads. I am glad that the phrase is used though. It lets the public know that the candidate takes full responsibility for what is said in the ad. The two examples above turn me off due to the fact that they are both voicing how the other candidate is not a good choice. I would have more respect for candidates who have ads that focus on themselves and not on downplaying the other candidate. Negative ads are like a shot below the knee.

  17. A pre-recorded soundbyte is hardly a rousing endorsement of a position, view, or stance – this type of tacit “approval” merely opens the door to manipulation of voters. Allowing (what are essentially) marketers to use your face and voice to try and sell you using whatever means necessary including attack ads and mudslinging is indicative of the bought-and-paid-for nature of our current political system. Lobbyists are leading this charge away from integrity, using techniques such as this. I do NOT approve their message.

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