Labor Day marks the traditional beginning of campaign season. But the campaigns have been running strong for weeks in Ohio – and have been fueled by ads that critics are calling factually faulty at best, and outright lies at worst. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on what some see as “bad ads”.
It’s no mystery to Robert Higgs with Politifact at the Cleveland Plain Dealer why attack ads are airing in a key state such as Ohio.
“If you’re a candidate and you’re buying airtime and you’ve got, you need to zing your opponent, there’s incentive to run these negative ads,” says Higgs.
The state has an elections commission that has the power to impose fines, issue citations, or refer ads for criminal prosecution if ads are intentionally false. Ohio State election law professor Ned Foley cautions that toughening laws on ads could backfire with politically-motivated prosecutions.
“Even if you don’t like these ads and you think it’s a problem, the medicine might be worse than the disease so to speak to have the government come in too heavy-handed,” says Foley.
Foley says his answer is simple but not easy - it’s that voters need to be vigilant and inform themselves.