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COLUMN: Political ads on TV are a bad dream

2012-10-09T23:45:00Z COLUMN: Political ads on TV are a bad dream Glens Falls Post-Star
October 09, 2012 11:45 pm

When I tell someone I work for the newspaper, they sometimes tell me they enjoy looking at the ads. I guess they are trying to make a point.

It’s funny, but you never hear the same thing about television.

I find the few minutes I am subjected to television advertising the most detestable part of my day, especially at this time of year when Madison Avenue’s fun, creative, Clio-winning minds are hired out to do the devil’s bidding on political campaigns.

Instead of those stream-of-consciousness Direct TV ads where eyepatch-wearing racquetball players end up in a ditch and viewers end up smiling, we get spooky monster music showing irrefutable proof that the congressional candidate of the moment has horns and a tail. And while the opposition candidate pronounces that they approve of this message, fine print appears acknowledging that some of the images in the ad may have been slightly altered.

Political attack ads are the National Enquirer of the advertising world, giving incessant car spots newfound class and dignity. We now look forward to their return.

In recent weeks, the political ad-making machine seems to have exhausted all issues and subject matter.

The other night, I was watching TV and was startled to see that the ads had reached a new low. Here is what I heard:

“Congressman Bill Owens supported raising the 50-50 raffle in high school to a 75-25 and spending the increased revenues on limos for all students at the senior prom. He regularly copied his homework from his best friend in sixth grade and once lied to his mother when she asked if he had brushed his teeth before bedtime. Is this the type of man we want in Washington?”

Then, right after that, came this:

“Matt Doheny proposed cutting the cost of his high school yearbook to the wealthiest 1 percent of students while the other students paid full price. He spent over 100 minutes in the penalty box in his hockey career and once traded three New York Yankee baseball cards for Boston Red Sox star Jim Rice. Is this the type of man we want to be a congressman from New York?”

I think it was a dream, but then again, the campaign still has another month to go. It might have been a preview.

I never thought I would look forward to seeing the erectile dysfunction ads return to my living room.

Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at or his updates on Twitter at

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