Anonymous Paid Political Advertising

Bill Moyers did a wonderful job of illuminating “Who Pays for Political Ads?” Following this conversation on Huffington Post, I found that I had some observations of my own.

I saw reader comments that we have NO right to know who sponsors anonymous paid political advertising — the PINK SLIME of the advertising industry. The laws of slander still apply to us, but they don’t apply to the anonymous wealthy who corrupt the electoral process.

So it is argued that we who don’t like anonymous paid political ads are free to ignore them, and people who DO like them are free to waive their right to due diligence on the source and veracity of the content. It’s argued there certainly is a protected “right” to anonymously buy the spread of smear and slander. Who can spell PROPAGANDA?

When we think about it, propaganda can be used to manipulate opinion by either side of an issue, but a civilian population has at least a theoretical means of independently verifying or debunking it. It’s quite rational and legitimate to consider the credibility of the source in evaluating things we are told. Anonymous paid political ads take this off the table, because we no longer have a way to determine the source of the information, let alone the methods used to gather or manufacture it.

Anonymity may be vital to the success of a totalitarian state, for both perpetrators and victims, but anonymous and unverifiable political defamation is subversive of a democracy. Stand up to the perpetrators!

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