92

Because the Trump campaign crossed a line in 2016. Before this point it was generally accepted, in American politics, that politicians and candidates did not use words such as "stupid" or "insane" when talking about one another. In return, it was fairly uncommon for the "proper" news media to use such terms when talking about ...


57

I suppose that I disagree with the framing of the question. I would argue that Trump's mental health and intelligence are frequently criticized. There are a plethora of news articles characterizing him as poorly educated, incurious, not terribly bright, or even possibly having some sort of mental illness. For instance, from the Atlantic, Trump does not read ...


48

Nothing prevents or bans the broadcast media from Fact Checking political advertising. But broadcasts are prevented from censoring political campaigns. The issue has recently been investigated by PolitiFact in the context of statements by Elizabeth Warren who stated that broadcast media was more robust on political advertising than Facebook. PolitiFact found ...


44

The United States system promotes a sharply divided two-party system. That's called Duverger's Law and like any such "laws" it is no ironclad automatism, merely a clearly observable trend. So anything which is bad for the others is automatically good for the own side. The disadvantage of being seen with smear tactics and of wasting the advertising ...


32

Some ads are protected but John Oliver's isn't In the US there is a federal law that requires TV stations and other mass media networks to give equal opportunity to all candidates running for an office. If the station airs an ad for one candidate it must give all other candidates running for the same office an opportunity to advertise. If any licensee ...


29

The answer is consistency. If you look at videos of Trump campaigning 5 years ago he looks approximately the same as he looks today. His speech patterns in 2015 were odd, but they remain odd in 2020. Likewise his physical appearance remains similar - he started out looking unhealthy and continues to look so today, but not any worse than 4 years ago. ...


24

The world is too complex and too many "facts" fall in a gray area. A famous saying is "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." "President Obama enjoyed 8 years of a declining deficit and steady standard of living increase." Could be "proven" completely true, or false, based on how one might choose to measure the deficit and standard of living by ...


21

There are two different election strategies at play, mostly aimed at two different kinds of people. This is to be expected in most elections but the tunes that the two parties are playing are so obviously different this year that it is being noted. The Republican campaign essentially continued its strategy from 2016 with minor tweaks. Then, the key point of ...


21

Most people, most of the time, think that things are pretty good, or at least tolerable, the way they are. As the US Declaration of Independence puts it "...all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." The logical ...


18

For the Trump campaign, the aim is to project and deflect from concerns about Trump's own mental competence. For the Biden campaign, it's likely a combination of a desire to appear "above the fray" and a sense that everyone who can be moved by concerns about Trump's mental competence already has been. There's a popular quote attributed alternately ...


14

When you sign up with Facebook, you consent to sharing information with Facebook. You can read their privacy policy. If you don't agree with it, you can refuse to sign up for the service. Cambridge Analytica said that they were collecting information for private research. They then shared that information with Republican political campaigns. It's ...


12

The Cambridge Analytics situation was more a wake up call for something that has been brewing for some time. Two tech giants, Facebook and Google, have long been under some scrutiny for selling their user's information to pretty much anyone who can pay. Chrome tracks your activity and reports it to Google. So do searches, and Google has become quite adept ...


12

I think this is, in part, due to the failure of the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Part of the reason many believe she lost was due to her campaign's focus on attacking Trump's personality, instead of highlighting policy differences. Looking at this study on campaign ads from 2016, Clinton's ads were nearly all personal attacks - not policy. That is not ...


11

One area of great concern is that Cambridge Analytica executives apparently have fewer scruples than their peers. About 15 minutes into the Channel 4 undercover video here chief executive Alexander Nix, managing director of CA Political Global Mark Turnbull, and chief data officer Dr. Alexander Tayler appear to be slyly suggesting they're ready and able to ...


11

You don't need that exact statement, but per 52 USC § 30120(d)(1)(B) you do need to have a statement that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication. Such statement— (i) shall be conveyed by— (I) an unobscured, full-screen view of the candidate making the statement, or (II) the candidate in voice-over, accompanied ...


11

Political ads cost money and have to be kept short. It's pretty easy to pick one of your opponent's policy mistakes, flawed outcome or something they misspoke and weaponize that into a short, clear negative argument that can either strengthen the commitment of your voters or induce your opponent's voters to doubt and stay at home. It's more difficult to pick ...


10

Multiple reasons: Spreading information can win adherents to your party and grow the base even if it is currently small, both in the party and elsewhere (e.g. to advance the argument that California politics are corrupt and that you don't want to be part of the ruling party of California). The extent to which a race is in play is not a fixed thing. Maybe ...


9

Because they work. Source: Being a political strategist/local politician in a Western democracy. Have had a lot of fun with highly effective negative campaigning. it works. But it works most effectively when you associate the positive elements of your campaign with the negative elements of what the opposition is (supposedly or actually doing). E.g. if you'...


8

The reason there is a discrepancy that arose your need to ask the question is because the question is based on incorrect understanding of what the media companies do. All of the companies listed (not all media companies, but all the ones listed in the question), mainly function in one of two business models: produce content directly sold to consumer (...


7

The key federal (Supreme Court) case law here is Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976. In 1974, President Ford signed a campaign finance law to do exactly what you suggest - limit the amount of money that could be spent on political campaigns. The Supreme Court, however, decided that the law directly conflicted with the First Amendment protection and right to ...


6

This depends on what you mean under "government" and under "against". A meeting against a current administration or President or certain government policies is legal, a meeting advocating the overthrow of the government, even if the meeting itself is peaceful would be illegal. Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of ...


6

Yes it is legal. It's protected by the First Amendment. You can find such advertisements easily if you Google. Here's a random hit: https://twitter.com/GAIAUNION/status/290956794052894722 https://twitter.com/OccupyNashville https://twitter.com/TPPatriots (though, in all fairness, Occupy can't really be considered "against the government" given they are ...


6

It appears that most or all of the ads have been removed since facebook located them and they have not been released to the public, however the 3,000+ Kremlin-linked ads are being shared with congress which may result in their eventual release Here is an example of a post from now-closed Russian created page "Secured Borders", notice the poor English. ...


6

Members of House Intelligence Committee released some of the Russian FB ads, as reported in November by Fox News as well as WaPo They were seen by at least 10 million Americans according to Facebook, many of them bought with rubles. They were bought by the Russia based Internet Research Agency with the intention of influencing people with strong feelings ...


6

@Affable Greek gave a practical legal answer. For a more idea-based reasons, there are 3 approaches of seeing the necessity of political campaign ads and the need to spend money in campaigns: Incumbent politicians have a basically insurmountable way of campaign advertising via being an incumbent. They have the name recognition. They can do favors to ...


6

The reason why Trump is using this tactic is because it works. In 1988, George H. W. Bush ran an extremely successful campaign against Michael Dukakis. Like Trump, early in the campaign, Bush steeply trailed his opponent in the polls, sitting around 37% to Dukakis' 54%. At some point, the Bush campaign ran an ad that lampooned Dukakis by inserting grinding ...


6

While you did not put a country tag, I assume that you are asking about the US. As an alternative perspective: I have never seen that in France and it would be at least weird here. Sure, during direct interactions they will tell the other candidate(s) that they are the worst that happened on earth since the Permian Extinction but that would never go in an ...


6

There are two reasons for this. The first as has been mentioned in other answers it is an attempt to get voters to change their vote from the opponent to the candidate who is running the attack ad. The second and I think is to get the voter whose support you won't be able to win to not vote at all. I have heard the results of this both in 2016 and in 2020. ...


5

The bottom line is that a campaign is going to highlight an issue if they think it will resonate. Trump clearly believes this one does. The question then becomes: why might he think that? Biden has scaled back his public appearances to limit gaffes, and the article says that Democrat donors are concerned that he has "lost his mojo". This has ...


4

There's a bit of a substory here politically. One of the stories that has been floating around is that Russia "interfered" with the US election by buying Facebook ads like this one The problem here is this: how much influence did ads like this bring? In fact, did these Facebook campaigns influence the election at all? Personally speaking, I have ...


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