Vote Bush! Vote Kerry! Yes to Proposal 1! No to Proposal 1! Turning on that television in the next week will only result in being bombarded with political ads not afraid of telling you what exactly you should be thinking when you step into that voting booth.
There is no doubt that the media plays a huge role in the upcoming elections. In fact, both parties have collectively raised around $1 billion to influence voters through television ads, concentrating a large portion in the swing states, like Michigan, forcing students like us to sit through such a barrage of advertisements, especially negative ones, now with a random assortment of wild animals.
[neg1] Richard Hula, professor and department chair of political science, said that ads will only increase in negativity as election day approaches since negative ads are shown to be more effective.
“In close races, candidates tend to go negative,” Hula said.
With the race running close, media corporations will put their two cents into the campaigns by unleashing their own biases onto voters. For instance, Republican-friendly Sinclair Broadcast Group aired parts of a controversial documentary called “Stolen Honor,” which paints candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam record in a not-so-flattering light. On the other side of the political fence, liberal Michael Moore released “Fahrenheit 9/11”, a documentary highly critical of the Bush Administration, on DVD only weeks before the election.
Jamie Brunet, a MSU sophomore, thinks that these kinds of films have a positive affect because it allows the public to access information on the candidates. Scot Yoder, a MSU Professor of Philosophy, doesn’t share the sentiment, saying he believes it’s hard to distinguish credible sources.
“People who play by the old rules in the new environment get screwed,” said Yoder.
Yoder suggested students use a wide variety of sources when gathering their information because they can no longer trust only one source for the truth.
“[The media] sway ignorant people to be more for a party that the really don’t understand,” communications sophomore Tori Boden said.
While ad agencies and media outlets may be able to influence the opinions of ignorant viewers, only those who get out to vote have a say in who will run our country. So, this Tuesday, when you enter the voting booth, vote based on what you believe is right, not what negative ads and biased reporting tell you is wrong.

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