Here comes the political advertising season – ugh!

V ideo: Congressional candidate Horace Funkhouser is shown walking down a street. He’s eating a large bag of doughnuts. He stuffs a large, jelly-filled one into his mouth, whole.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 4:13pm
  • Life

V ideo: Congressional candidate Horace Funkhouser is shown walking down a street. He’s eating a large bag of doughnuts. He stuffs a large, jelly-filled one into his mouth, whole.

Announcer: (As dark, creepy music plays under). “This man, Horace Funkhouser, wants you to send him to Washington, D.C., as your next congressman. But the way he stuffs his face, when would he find time to attend a session?”

Video: Funkhouser tosses empty doughnut bag onto the sidewalk.

Announcer: “This is a man who says he cares about the environment.”

Video: Funkhouser bumps into elderly woman, knocking her to the sidewalk.

Announcer: “He says he cares about seniors.”

Video: Funkhouser climbs into his brand-new Lexus, which is parked illegally in a handicapped spot.

Announcer: “What kind of man is Horace Funkhouser, actually?”

Video: Funkhouser runs over puppy and speeds away.

Announcer: “An awful man, that’s who.”

Video: Incumbent congressman Brad Babblejack runs over, revives the dog and adopts it. Then, he helps the elderly woman up off the sidewalk and onto a park bench, while using his free hand to scoop up the doughnut bag and slip it into his pocket for recycling.

Announcer: “Vote for Funkhouser? Are you kidding? He’s a no-good bum! Re-elect Babblejack for Congress. Come on, think!”

Get ready for political TV and radio ads not too different than the preceding. And with a general election on the autumn horizon, there won’t be much likelihood of subtlety. Dishonest, distorted, twisted political advertising – especially on TV – is as American as crab-apple pie.

The first politician to use TV was Thomas Dewey in his campaign for governor of New York in 1950. While seated in a TV studio, he answered questions from people passing by on the street outside while watching them on a monitor. Not surprisingly, Dewey’s staff had actually selected the so-called passersby the day before, rehearsing their questions. That way they didn’t have to worry that some wise guy would stroll up and say, “Dewey – or don’t we? That’s the real question!”

In the last 30 years or so, election-year ads seem to be above any sort of rules when it comes to tone and innuendo. But after all, political advertising falls under the First Amendment. That’s the one that protects freedom of speech, which includes freedom of hypocrisy, prevarication and false piety.

Just in case you are asked to produce a TV political ad for a friend or colleague this year, just follow these simple steps:

1. Whenever featuring your candidate on camera, bathe him or her in soft, warm light – perhaps sitting in a classroom chatting with grinning kids, or perhaps on the front porch of a retirement facility, hanging out with adoring seniors.

2. But whenever featuring the opponent, make sure the video is shadowy, murky, real grainy and spooky-looking. Video shot from a 7-11 security camera would be most ideal.

3. Sometimes it might be best not to show your candidate on camera at all. Especially if they are a bit goofy-looking or have an odd tic. Instead, just show a montage of really cute, gurgling babies – from all ethnic groups. It doesn’t really matter what the announcer is saying, just show the babies.

4. Always be sure and emphasize that your candidate is, or will be, fighting for the voters. However, don’t show him actually punching anyone.

5. To further make your opponent look creepy, show video of them that has been slowed way down, so they appear to be snockered – or even in a drug-induced condition. Another good idea is to use video that is out of focus and wobbly. This makes their stand on the issues seem out of focus and wobbly, too.

Sadly perhaps, when you get right down to it, there’s a very good reason that so many election-year ads are produced in sometimes sleazy and manipulative style: They work. After all, it’s hard for a candidate to take the high road when the low one goes right through town.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival streaming free for five evenings

Over 20 artists will perform in early October

Archived photo of Kelsey Creek Farm Fair/Courtesy of city of Bellevue.
Kelsey Creek Farm Fair canceled

The fair was scheduled for it’s 39th annual event on Oct. 3

Deyonté Weather Collection available to view during Fashion Week. Courtesy photo/The Bellevue Collection
Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection is available virtually and in-person

Proceeds for its online runway shows go to Bellevue LifeSpring.

Diya Garg, left, distributes Mighty Crayon recycles crayons and coloring books for Seattle students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.
Getting crayons to kids runs in the family

Eastside nonprofit Mighty Crayon is relaunched by younger sister of founder, repurposing used restaurant crayons

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Bellevue skyline. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Food Lifeline giving out emergency food boxes at Bellevue College, other Seattle-area locations

The nonprofit is working to help mitigate hunger amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Meet The Bored Baker of Bellevue

Youth keeps busy with blog during down time from school closures.