Future Unclear For 527 Ads As 60-Day Window Arrives

AdWeek is reporting that the environment for election ads may be altering course.

…due to the 60-day window, all ads must now be financed using “hard” money and be subject to party- and candidate-ad rules, including claiming responsibility for the message in the creative–or face further restrictions.

The 527s have been a persistent peculiarity in recent weeks. Surrogates on both sides of the political spectrum have used them to whack their opponenent. This has not, however, been conducted with moral equivalency on each side. Joshuah Bearman of the LA Weekly writes:

Contrary to the dogma of J[ournalism] schools across the country, there are not always two sides to a story. Balance is often necessary and indispensable, but there are times when the media might have to…mediate a bunch of information and make a judgment. And in those instances, presenting contrasting information as if it’s equally important is, in fact, the false representation…..don’t quote people who are lying just to have “both sides” represented.

However, the attempts by Bush, and to a lesser extent, Kerry, to do away with 527s is a bit disconcerting. There are ever fewer outlets for political speech, particularly speech that eminates from the grassroots. Certainly many of the 527s are not grassroots outfits, but they have the potential to be. The more enlightened approach would be to tinker with the statute so that it promotes citizen participation and disallows the sponsoship of vested interests.


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