Who Paid For That Ad?

A common misperception from the 1988 Presidential campaign between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis is that Bush team produced and ran ad that prominently featured Willie Horton.  The “Willie Horton ad” is it was to be called, featured a criminal (Horton) and how he was allowed out of prison on weekends by a Massachusetts Governor (Dukakis) in part to that state’s prison furlough program.  The ad mentions that while Horton was out on one weekend pass, he kidnapped, stabbed, and raped a woman and brutally beat that woman’s boyfriend.  The ad struck a nerve with the public, hurt the Dukakis campaign, and Dukakis never recovered.  Many who watched the ad would reference it as “Bush’s Willie Horton ad” when in fact the ad was created by the National Security PAC (Political Action Committee).  This PAC ran an ad, by federal law, independent of the Bush campaign.

How would the public know if the ad was paid for and produced by an outside or independent organization?  Sure, there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the “Horton” ad that disclosed the source.  The disclaimer was about the size of the type of disclaimers that you see in a car commercial.  A magnifying glass is a necessity for proper reading.  In the last twelve years, identifying a commercial’s source became a bit easier for the public.  With the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) (2002), candidates at the federal level who run ads from their own campaign coffers must say, “I am so and so and I am approve this message.”  Most campaign commercials are run by outside organizations, so this BCRA requirement is not applicable.

What are your thoughts on the amount of ads that you have seen in the last few months?  Now that the elections are over, you perhaps can fully process what has been transmitted over the airwaves in this election season.


15 responses to “Who Paid For That Ad?

  1. Super Pac ads give an edge to the candidate who has the money behind him. Public opinion can be swayed by ads that are meant to sway opinions and buy votes. These ads always favor the condidate supported by the super pac. Jerry

  2. A Super Pac app? I consider myself somewhat technically savy, but this is news to me. In any case, I have downloaded it to my droid (known on Google Play as Ad Hawk) and am curious to put it into play. A highly rated app, I look forward to the option to see who is paying for these ads

  3. No i do not have the app. This is the first I’ve heard of this app. I honestly don’t find it useful to me besides for my homework in which I incorrectly assumed that Bush ran the Willie Horton ad in an attempt to discredit or run Dukakis out of the Presidential campaign but it was ran by the National Security PAC.

  4. Technology has really come a long way. What I am curious about. Will this ap help inform the people about the political commercials they are viewing and where they are really coming from? I do not think if we had that ap in 1988 that the outcome would have been any different. Isn’t the damage already done?

  5. The ads like to hit on people’s emotions to get votes. If you make them mad or fearful and want to vote for this person for change. Then again unless you look up this stuff you will never know about it unless you look into the story. They don’t like to advertise for bad things that happen unless there is an election and they are looking for votes or money. It is sad how the media lies and hides what is really going on. I know I said this before but the movie night crawler points out the flaws in the medi and the public.

  6. Many of the ads were upbeat and trying to help out their campaign, I didn’t notice many negative ones towards the opposing candidates. The PAC should have the same rules like the campaigns in the federal level if they are going to be involved in politics like they are. They are pretty much taking advantage of the naive people.

  7. The ads that have been running over the past few months have been despicable and are a clear example of the flaws in our government today. The ads have been malicious and blatantly attacking one another. This does nothing productive because it may slander one candidate and leave the other one looking slanderous, while also leaving the citizens completely uneducated about either candidate. The campaigners are able to publish these petty ads by hiring outside organizations to run them.

  8. PACs and SuperPACs have a lot of money to throw around and a lot to gain by getting certain candidates elected — by any means necessary. While I can’t advocate many of the tactics that are used to fuel campaigns in current politics, I can understand WHY they’re used. They’re effective. Political ads continue to dupe many Americans who, sadly, have minimal knowledge of our political system. Social issues are brought up and towed by each party, and people often follow their emotions when they go to the voting booth. And as we all know, emotional ≠ logical. Marketing research is conducted and analyzed in campaigns, and PACs/SuperPACs/candidates implement information gathered to appeal to specific demographics so they can nab the most votes. It’s just business.

  9. From the political ads that we have seen from the past have been overall upbeat. Some have mentioned former politician whoch included some parents. I think this ad was very effective and ruined Dukakis’s chances of being president. The PAC ads seems to be used for politicians that are willing to spend any amount of money to win.

  10. This add ruined the politicians chances of winning and becoming president. I feel like the add was misrepresented to the public and are just blowing any kind of money to allow the politician to win but it isn’t all about the money. People need to understand what the president is trying to pursue in his term.

  11. I think that the amount of ads over the past few months was typical for mid term elections. I think that there would have been more ads if there was a Presedential election. Now that the elections are over I don’t think I proccess what has been transmitted over the airways because I dont pay attention to those type of ads because politicians will say almost anything to gain a leverage.

  12. Many of the ads I have seen over the past few months were for the mid term election. Making emotional ads gets peoples attention. Many of these ads take advantage of people that do not pay attention to what is going on.

  13. Television and radio love election season because of the revenue they make from all the airspace that is dedicated to ads. Over the past few month I’ve seen all different types of ads and one that is vaguely similar was the Rauner ad that stated Quinn freed prisoners due to his point of view of overcrowded prisons. The ads all aim to hit an emotional response from the voter.

  14. Plenty of the ads start coming out when the election are closer to date to get peoples attention. They have two kinds of ads the the positives and the negative ones apposing the other candidate. The main source can be that and will make people change their minds to vote for them

  15. I have seen quiet a few ads around the election time. However, there has been plenty of bad and destructive images in many of them, it wasn’t all negative I guess. In Rauner’s case most of his ads I’d classified as mixed since they would feature positive words about himself as well as negative comments on Quinn. He had some positive ones too. That goes with all the candidates though. Most focus on winning so bad, that they end up showing us this negative portrayal of their opponents when in reality they could use that money and show people the good they want to do instead.

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