WFSU News Team
Fri August 10, 2012
Attack of the Attack Ads
With only days left until the primary and just weeks until the general election, campaign ads are flooding the airwaves. These advertisements range from the mundane to the bizarre, with candidates on both sides attempting to shore up support before Floridians take to the polls.
Ever since the landmark Supreme Court decision, Citizens United V.S. The Federal Election Commission, campaign ads have revved up rhetoric, beefed up production quality, and streamlined delivery mechanisms to ensure they can reach every voting bloc possible. Some have criticized the decision, saying that it has made it legal to buy elections. But, putting that debate aside, there are lesser-known effects of the 2008 decision, some stranger than fiction.
Republican Representative Jeff Brandes from St. Petersburg recently came under fire from an electioneering committee funded attack ad focusing on his support for autonomous vehicles or “robot cars”. The ad, funded by the Committee to Protect Florida features a driver-less car narrowly missing an elderly woman as she crosses the street. It portrays Brandes as an out of touch insider who cares more about robot vehicles than your grandmother.
But, it’s not the only ad garnering attention. A group calling itself Conservatives United based in Melbourne funded an attack ad targeting Republican Representative Kelli Stargel using B-movie science fiction footage to portray the conservative Lakeland native as a liberal candidate.
Not all candidates have taken the attacks in silence. Republican Representative Allen West recently emailed supporters about an attack ad by the American Sunrise Super-PAC which shows him “socking it to seniors” in a boxing ring and robbing a middle class family.
The ad is meant to criticize West’s healthcare policies but he calls the commercial “disgusting” and “reprehensible”. He addressed the ad in an email to supporters Thursday.
“The ad being run against me by my opponent’s family depicting violence against women and senior citizens is reprehensible. It plays on stereotypes and fear to divide Americans, and it cheapens the very real and tragic occurrences of violence against women and seniors.”
Not all campaigns are going negative. Republican Representative Mike Weinstein from Jacksonville has an ad out that’s adding some humor to the election frenzy. His campaign released an ad complete with fancy costumes, a catchy tune, and a dance number that implores citizens to “vote mike”.