Picks and Pans Review: The Duping of the American Voter

UPDATED 07/14/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/14/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Robert Spero

The author, who worked in the State Department during the Kennedy administration and is now in advertising, insists that since Eisenhower, every candidate for the Presidency has used TV ads to convey messages that were almost the exact opposite of the truth. Unlike other products sold on the tube, Spero points out, politicians face no regulations on what they can promise. He cites commercials from each President and explains how, image by image, they misled. He also takes the media to task for not refuting such claims. Jimmy Carter, for instance, was portrayed as a poor farmer with no backing when reporters knew he was a millionaire peanut wholesaler with an efficient political team long before he ran for the Presidency. Spero's solution—a code of political ethics for TV ads—seems little enough, considering the stakes, though asking Congress for such legislation might be like asking the mice to set the traps. (Lippincott & Crowell, $12.95)

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