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Impact of Political Ads Examined

There are lies. And then there are campaign ads. Every election season we take a sample of some of the ads out there. Today, the truth squad helps us separate the truth from the sales pitch.

Impact of Political Ads Examined

Tom Fudge : Where does all of the money for election campaigning go, nowadays? TV advertising, of course. And this election season in California has brought the predictable barrage of ads urging you to vote for candidate A or B and propositions X, Y, Z.

All of these ads have to deliver a powerful message in a very short amount of time. Sometimes they’re amusing. Sometimes they’re infuriating. And they’re almost always misleading. This is especially true of the proposition ads that have to boil down a complex law to a handful of images and catch phrases.


Every election season we take a sample of some of the ads out there. We listen to them and talk about them. Well, it’s that time of year. So without further ado, let me introduce today’s truth squad, the people we’ve invited on the show to help us separate the truth from the sales pitch.


  • Dr. Barbara O’Connor , professor of communications at California State University, Sacramento. She is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media.
  • Scott Barnett, former political consultant, and president of                                                                         

Campaign Ads

  • Yes on Prop. 87 Campaign, "Bill Clinton: If Brazil can do it, so can California."
    "Imagine if we could stop being dependent on foreign oil. Brazil did it. They made a simple change to their cars; switched to ethanol grown from their own crops. And it’s 33-percent cheaper than gas. Now with Proposition 87, California can lead the way to our own energy independence. With Prop. 87, we can switch to cleaner fuels…wind and solar power…and free ourselves from foreign oil. If Brazil can do it, so can California."
  • Phil Angelides for Governor, "Always on Your Side"
    "In 1972, a young man from California saw a sign that changed his life forever and inspired him to make a difference. While raising a family and creating a successful business, Phil Angelides led school reform in his community and helped California make history. Called the most effective and dynamic state treasurer in a generation. Phil Angelides is a fighter for what he believes in: family, community, hard work, and opportunity. Phil Angelides. Democrat for Governor. Always on your side."
  • "Re-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Compare"
    "Governor Schwarzenegger is moving California forward. Building schools. Strengthening our infrastructure. 600,000 new jobs. Phil Angelides. He says he’s committed to healthcare, but his position on universal coverage changed three times in just one month. Angelides says he’s an environmentalist, but he’s the only candidate cited by the EPA for destroying wetlands. We know a leader when we see one."
  • No on Prop. 86 Campaign, “Uninsured”
    "It’s awful being uninsured in California. She’ll be okay, but her finances won’t. Prop.86, the tobacco tax initiative, was written by hospital corporations. They get hundreds of millions a year out of 86 by billing taxpayers for emergency care for the uninsured, and taxpayers will have to pay. Problem is hospitals often charge the uninsured many times more for care than people with insurance pay. It’s wrong for hospitals to overcharge the uninsured, but it’s outrageous for them to bill taxpayers for their inflated charges. No on 86."
  • Jerry Brown for Attorney General,  "Poochigian Would Not Ban 50 Caliber BMG Rifles"
    "One round from the 50-calibur assault rifle is capable of passing through two police cars and come out the other side and still kill you. California police wanted to ban it, but career legislator Chuck Poochigian voted to keep these 50-calibur killing machines legal. Poochigian is too extreme for California. There’s a better choice for attorney general: Jerry Brown. He’ll work to protect our police officers from these dangerous weapons. That’s why rank and file cops back Jerry Brown for attorney general."

  • No on Prop. 89 Campaign, “Ad #1”
    Dad: "I’d love to reign in the special interests that control our state politics, and that’s what I thought Prop. 89 did. But then I read up on it. It turns out Prop. 89 was written by special interests. It would stick us with $200 million dollars in new taxes creating a campaign slush fund for politicians to use as they see fit. Can you believe it? It’s like welfare for politicians."
    Kid: “Hey dad. You playing?”
    Dad: "Read it for yourself, I did. That’s why I’m voting no on Prop.89."
  •  Yes on Prop. 89 Campaign, “Rap: About time for 89”

    It's about time for Prop. 89
    What's goin' on in Sac Town is blowin' my mind
    "Big Boys Club" by grand design
    Are leaving Californians far behind
    Cause in Sac Town - you have to pay to play
    Thanks for your vote but you just can't stay
    All you big money boys with all the big green

    Get up on your feet
    Proposition 89
    We're takin it to the streets
    Rise up and shine
    Send the big boys a message
    Yes on 89
    Politicians and big money power
    Are tucked away in an ivory tower
    Called the Capitol - they got it up for sale
    But they're breakin' the law and goin' to jail
    Political corruption is on the rise
    Donations are comin' in super-size
    Californians need a little bit of love
    But we can't get in to the "Big Boys Club"
    (repeat chorus)

    Can't get health if you don't have wealth
    Can't fix schools if we don't have tools
    Can't afford the gas, to fill up the tank
    Big Boys are takin' us to the bank
    Proposition 89 is real reform
    The corporations hate it like a lover's scorn
    They want freedom - to buy politicians
    Of course they would rather keep with tradition

    Lyrics by Colette Washington