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Political Censorship? Google Bans Personal Attacks in Political Ads

By Danny Davids(13,494) Danny Davids

Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Danny Davids

Are you as tired of the latest round of mudslinging political ads as I am?  Then you should be happy to know there is one less place you'll find them--on Google.

With all the different types of ads popping up on the Internet, Google determined that the only fair thing to do was to notify users of its AdSense network that there were new rules concerning the posting of political ads.  In particular, no ads will be allowed that attack a candidate's personal life.  Pointing out the negatives in a candidate's political record is acceptable ("Senator Brown raised taxes and reduced services to the poor"); pointing out the candidate's personal foibles is not ("Senator Brown has avoided paying his own taxes since 2005").

Opponents claim this is a violation of free speech as outlined in the First Amendment.  They also imply that a candidate's actions in private are indicative of how that candidate can be expected to conduct him-/herself in the political arena as well.  So if a potential candidate has embezzled money from a former employer, wouldn't it be wise to let the public know before he's voted into a position that requires the handling of taxpayers' money?
The other qualifications that Google imposes on its political advertisers aren't under attack.  It's just this one specification that seems to raise the ire of the free-speech pundits.  Some view it as "whitewashing" or "sanitizing" of the facts; others view it as censorship.

Is it Google's place to censor political ads?  Why not?  After all, they do have rules for advertisements of other types, and I'm willing to bet that some ads never make it to "print" because of infractions of those rules.  Although some may claim otherwise, the election process has turned into a very big business.  The rules of business ettiquette should therefore apply to their ads as well.  The bottom line: If you want to advertise on Google, you follow their rules.  And I think that's perfectly acceptable.

Besides, there are other places people can go if they want to get smut on our politician-wannabes.  Like, the televisions ads.  Or the presidential debates.  Or perhaps a congressional page or two.  And of course, there's always the Internet...!

This Blog Post has been read 322 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Tuesday, January 29, 2008
View other posts by Danny Davids

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