Should Political Ads Be Banned Or Regulated?

Should presidential advertising be banned -- not only during presidential debates -- but in many other time periods?

That would be advertising heresy, according to many. But considering how social media has poisoned the advertising pond, what can we do?

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to go that far -- just banning political advertising during all presidential debates. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), another Democratic presidential candidate supports Sanders.



“Private media outlets are making enormous sums of money during events that are meant to inform the public about their candidates,” Sanders stated in the plan. “This type of influence must end.”

Analysts may have other worries about misleading or outright falsehoods. Would supporters of Donald Trump also approve such a ban?

On the surface, this would make sense. If phony content appears in TV messaging -- as well as other media platforms -- why should it air? This would be far from perfect. But in the media world, less is more. Or maybe just less.

Similarly, there have been calls for Twitter to ban Trump from tweeting -- given his falsehoods, inappropriate content and possible misspellings. (I disagree on the last one. Bring back more “covfefe.”)

First Amendment issues? Just open your door, stand on your porch, and scream all you want. Twitter is not yet a public utility having to abide by federal regulation. TV networks have always had the final say about running ads.

And then there are the bad actors.

Publicly consumed content should have editors, fact-checkers or whatever. Trouble is, Twitter and Facebook don’t want to become part of that process -- citing First Amendment responsibilities, even if people lie. Newspapers, radio and TV networks are much better -- but not perfect -- in checking untruths in content and advertising before airing.

Here’s the issue: volume. In the digital media age, the millions/billions advertising/messaging content gets way too hard to manage, let along fact-check.

At the same time, social media is desperate to avoid any kind of federal regulation. Their only hope is using blunt ways of stopping such content. Interested parties will find other ways to circumvent those high walls. But you need to try, you need to slow them down. Go scream.

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