Trying to regulate speech is always a dicey proposition. As Nancy Dinardo pointed out later in the article, one person't lie is another person's spin. If law makers really wanted to address the negativity in campaining they would work on ways to get the money out of advertising, and into real substantive debate about ideas and issues.
Williams would create a citizens review panel to consider complaints of unfair advertising and determine if candidates were in compliance with the code of conduct.
In cases involving candidates participating in public financing, the panel could withhold funding from offenders or allow extra funding for those victimized.
The panel could pressure candidates not involved in public financing by offering a public, nonpartisan judgment on the accuracy or fairness of advertising, he said.
"Campaigns should be opportunities to inform, not mislead," Williams said. "Voters are interested in issues, not insults."
He declined to identify any campaign that he found offensive, but he said the recently concluded season was the most negative in state history.
(source: The Courant)
If the FCC grants a license to tv and radio stations and has some requirement about broadcasting for the public good, why aren't our lawmakers exploring ways to provide time for political advertising as part of public air time? And why not look into reducing the window that political speech can be aired on tv and radio? But maybe the biggest scourge is the ubiquitous lawn sign, not the ones that dot laws of residences, but the ones that show up on public space and stay long past the elections they serve?
If negative advertising exists to "inform voters" how about combating the distortions with greater transparency to what our legislators are actually doing. Why don't we have attendance records of meetings easily available to the public (online), or records of PACS or lobbyist donations linked to the bills that are voted on by legislator? There are many ways to curb misinformation, discuss away.
The Courant, A Call For Action On Political Ads, by MARK PAZNIOKAS 11/1706