Impact Of Political Advertising Essay

1248 words - 5 pages

Political advertising is a part of American politics that has been around for as long as this nation has existed. Yet, in 2003, a Washington Post article titled, "Unconventional Wisdom" by Richard Morin advocates that emotional manipulation through televised media is something that is new. It should be considered common knowledge that these advertisements have specific agenda to convince and influence the emotions of the viewer be telling half truths and using images with specific sound effects to generate desired emotional responses. It is obvious that political ads are not meant to educate at all but are just another medium to influence voters through emotional impact. But this should not be something that is considered new. Throughout all American history political parties have been playing to the emotions of the voter to achieve agendas. To understand how this is possible it is important to look at how political advertising is meant to be used and how it affects people that are exposed to it and how powerful of a tool it actually is. Next, it is advantageous to understand the history behind political advertising that has become such a major part of American culture. Finally, even with political agendas behind political advertisements there are positive side effects to their attempts at motivating the viewer to vote a certain way, including the spread of information that would otherwise never be shared. As long as the concentration is not on the negativity of such ads and the messages contained in them are taken in context then this American tradition of political mudslinging and cheerleading should be able to stay.
In the article, "Unconventional Wisdom", Richard Morin writes about the interesting findings of PhD research, at Harvard University lead by Ted Brader, that political campaign ads of a positive and negative nature are extremely effective at manipulating their target audiences. Furthermore, "emotion-drenched political ads are most effective among sophisticated voters, who probably would be the most chagrined to learn that they're suckers for political mudslinging and cheerleading, claims Ted Brader"(Morin, 2003).
According the Professor Brader, emotions are the core motivator for action in everyone. It is the strong correlation between emotion and action that Professor Brader decided to test in a controlled group of individuals. By taking individuals and breaking them up into four different groups and then showing each group a different political ad and afterwards surveying its effects on their emotions, political opinions, and viewpoints, Professor Brader was able to see how effective positive and negatively charged campaign ads really are. Each ad was different from the other three. Two were positive and two were negative while one of the positive and one of the negatives were edited with dull images and video along with having a bland audio track, their opposites were given intense music and images to enhance...

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