Oct 042004
 
Authors: James Baetke

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on campaign political

advertisements each year, and this election year the masses are

subject to both positive and negative advertising.

Candidates running for office must follow strict guidelines

while running advertisements, but groups and organizations not

linked to the candidate can spend millions of dollars and not be

under any mandates.

Ray Martinez (R), the Fort Collins mayor who is running for the

state Senate District 14 seat against Bob Bacon (D), said he is

against these so-called “dirty politics.”

Martinez is the topic of a negative Web site,

www.raylikestotravel.com. The Web site, which has been advertised

on television, details travel expenses that Martinez allegedly paid

for using taxpayer money.

The Web site is paid for by Forward Colorado, a group that

claims not to be related to any candidate or political group.

“Every one of my records are public record,” Martinez said,

insisting he is the one who urged the city to publicly post his

travel expenses on the city’s finance department Web site.

The Web site lists every travel expense since Martinez took

office, including the 10 trips he took to Washington, D.C., spa

treatments and mini bar expenses. The Web site claims Martinez

spent more than $52,000 since he was elected in 1999.

Martinez said the numbers on the Web site are exaggerated and

distorted.

“If other parties are going to build false straw houses, I will

be the wolf that blows their houses down,” Martinez said.

Many argue that many political advertisements are mean-spirited

and some viewers do not appreciate them.

“Television ads don’t always sway me in one direction, because

sometimes they seem so off the mark, yet inform me on some issues,”

said Katie Miller, a junior zoology major and registered voter.

Many political analysts believe that despite the negativity

found in advertisements, it could be detrimental to the general

public to stop them. If this happened voters might end up knowing

less about the candidates or issues. In contrast, some believe

negative campaigns keep voters away from the polls on Election

Day.

“There have been years in the past where I just don’t exercise

my right to vote. (Advertisements) can just be plain wrong and

hateful, I’d just as soon not vote,” said Jeremy Lakestown, a Fort

Collins resident.

Advertisements and smear campaigns can be found at many

levels.

Advertisements aimed against Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) have been

controversial across the state. Two television spots paid for by

Colorado Families First ridicule Musgrave for her voting record on

certain issues.

In one ad, viewers see an actress resembling Musgrave leaning

over a dead man in a coffin, stealing his watch and dropping it in

her purse. In another, Musgrave is portrayed as forging through a

battle scene picking the pocket of a soldier during combat.

This particular commercial accuses Musgrave of voting for

nursing homes to continue billing patients after they have

died.

Local third-party groups taking media spots, such as Colorado

Families First and Forward Colorado, are among other nationally

known groups such as Swift Vote Boat Veterans for Truth, which can

funnel money into advertisements and are not as likely to following

the advertising rules as candidates themselves.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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