Attack, Attack, Attack: Is That What We Want for American Politics?
Political advertising on television is becoming a main channel for people to obtain information about the salient characteristics of political candidates, their fitness for office, and their opinions on issues. Even for people who are not particularly interested in political campaigns, political advertisements can have a profound affect on them. Negative advertising plays a significant role in informing voters, but personal character attack ads stir the public's hatred towards politics and lower people's confidence in politicians and government. In order to avoid these happenings, regulating negative advertising can be an approach in building a moral environment for political campaigns. However, the First Amendment in the United States protects freedom of speech which also applies to speech in political advertising. How should negative advertising be defined and how the amount of negativity in political advertising should be determined in order to keep the objectivity and fairness of political campaigns? This thesis argues that although the First Amendment poses substantial obstacles to direct regulation of negative advertising, there are incentives and accountability remedies that could get candidates to take more responsibility for negative political advertising.
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