Selling Candidates like Hemorrhoid Ointments

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Last time I looked at a Gallup poll it showed that Congress’s approval rating was at an all-time low of 9 percent. Polygamy, pornography, and the BP oil spill all had higher approval ratings. Even the “U.S. going communist” was more popular!

Why? I think it’s because the public perceives that Congress has been corrupted by the influence of money on the electoral system. A century ago comedian Will Rogers said that the U.S. had the best Congress money can buy. That’s still true, but it has become a great deal more expensive.

That’s because candidates for political office these days feel the need to purchase expensive air time on commercial TV and radio stations in order to get elected. But the electoral process is demeaned, and knowledge of the issues diminished, by “selling” candidates like soap and hemorrhoid ointments in 30- or 60-second spots.

Radio and television stations in the United States are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to use the public airwaves for the benefit of the public. They should not be allowed to charge candidates money for air time. They should offer the time without charge, not as political advertising, but as debates on the issues, and in 15-minute blocks for candidates to make their case for election and re-election.

If radio and TV stations are not willing to do this, they should lose their licenses. After all, those licenses are granted to broadcasters who are supposed to use the public airwaves for the benefit of the public, not just for private gain.

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Filed under Election Reform, Politics, Uncategorized

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