Being in the advertising business ourselves, we’re a little uneasy warning people to treat any ad message with some skepticism, but this presidential election season has many observers retreating from traditional positions.
Our feeling is that many of the television messages we are all seeing pertaining to this November’s presidential contest contain so many undocumented charges and easily manipulated numbers that it renders them unreliable at best, totally misleading at worst.
It is essential that voters acquaint themselves with facts — not assaults conceived by political operatives. Does Republican Romney truly have a history of enhancing profits for his company by shipping jobs overseas, and would that forecast his actions for the next four years as president? Does Democrat Obama actually have a record that will show he plunged this country into debt from which we may never escape, and would that predict financial ruin for this nation?
Be particularly wary of the one-sided messages littering the Internet. One thing about America: since it encourages free thought and open opinion, it has no shortage of uninformed fools ready and eager to express them.
Remember that the difference between legitimate news reports and vigilante opinion mongers is that legitimate new organizations contact the other side for a balanced report. When you see or hear a charge lodged without rebuttal, you have something other than legitimacy and reliability.
Yet the stakes are so high in this presidential race — as always — that few avenues are considered out of bounds when trying to shape opinion toward one candidate or the other.
It seems that every election, the campaigns become more vitriolic and less polite. Dignity plays little, if any, role in the efforts to land a candidate in the White House.
We see in Letters to the Editor on online article comments the writings of local people who are convinced their sources of information are impeccable. Often, those sources are far from that. Sometimes, they are an Internet rumor run amok.
We try to police such erroneous submissions, but we can’t have all information on all topics. And, occasionally, something slips past us unrecognized as false.
We strongly urge everyone who hasn’t already firmly decided how to vote this fall to assess what you are hearing and reading. Has the source of the information presented both sides or only one? Is this a news story, a pro-candidate advertisement or a fanatical diatribe?
Consider as many issues as you can and how each candidate stands on each.
In short, vote with your head.