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Burriss: THEY are here!

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By LARRY BURRISS

Get ready Middle Tennessee, they're on the way. "They" are the presidential candidates during the upcoming Southern primaries. But, even before then, "they" will be the political ads in support of these candidates.

Now, we've seen complaints about political ads for years: lots of attacks, distortions and mis-information, but precious little real information. And everyone is still complaining about the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens-United decision regarding political advertising. But I figure since both sides are complaining, it must have been a pretty good decision.

And since the primary in South Carolina there is very real question about just how effective the ads are. Apparently all of the money spent by the Bush campaign for advertising, television spots and mass mailers didn't do any good.

But you know what was missing that would really be helpful: some unbiased reporting about the misrepresentations and spins the candidates are spreading about each other. And that's what many people here said was missing from the news coverage: some information that would enable voters to evaluate the ads. Not evaluate them in terms of how slick they are, but evaluate them in terms of the information they are supposed to present.

Now, it's absolutely true reporters are supposed to be unbiased. But pointing out factual errors isn't a matter of supporting one candidate or the other; it's about giving people the information they need to make an intelligent choice about who to vote for.

Of course it would be nice if, when the candidates start to advertise in Tennessee, they did away with all the rhetoric and just gave us the facts. But that isn't likely to happen. So the next best thing will be someone to evaluate the ads and tell us what they're really all about. But that isn't likely to happen either. And that's a real problem.

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