InSITE--Political Ads New and Old and Still Ugly - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

InSITE--Political Ads New and Old and Still Ugly

If you complain about political campaign advertising, and yearn for the good old days, hang on! I found Living Room Candidate, a treasure trove of political campaign advertising, and analysis that's a reminder that those good old days weren't all that good. If you have any interest in politics or political advertising, or history, I dare you to spend less than an hour exploring this site. It's simple start page is deceiving. Looks like something about campaign ads, but dig a little deeper. It's a history lesson on the things that change our lives.

Note the column on the left. The years listed. Go to this year and you'll see a balanced collection of the presidential political advertising out there. Straightforward and downright nasty on both sides. Watch a few, especially if you have a high speed modem connection. If you're still on dial up, this might not be for you. Either way, read the center column about the ads, and the impact they're having on the voters.

If all the nasty ads annoy you, go ahead, make that trip down memory lane. Go all the way back to 1952, when everybody liked Ike, except the Democrats trying to thrown him out of office. Play a few of the spots, and while they are a little mild, fitting with the times, they're still nasty and mean- spirited. You are looking at the beginning, the ancestors of today's attack ads. One in particular I want you to watch for a second, about government corruption. Recognize Richard Nixon? Twenty years before Watergate, running for vice president. Told you this was a history lesson.

Reminder about that middle column again. The overview gives you a flavor for the times and the issues, then you can click on the party, in this case Republican or Democrat, but where the fringe parties or candidates were a factor, like Ralph Nader or George Wallace, they are listed.

Then finally the results of the race, so you can see the commercials, and the results. This breakdown is great. By type of ad. Ads that backfired, one slamming Vice President Al Gore. Ads that focused on the candidates, or kids, or even playing on our fears. Including what may be the most famous ever, and one of the simplest. A little girl plucking flower petals, leading to a nuclear explosion. So radical at the time, it only aired as a commercial once. You can see it here, along with dozens more.

Not just stuck in the past, the site offers a very current view of campaigns on line, and the impact the Internet is having on politics, and campaigns. One warning here, since they are ads meant for the adult audience on the Internet, the language can be foul, and the spots raw. Surf with your kids, it's a good chance to talk politics, and maybe get 'web wise before the next election.

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