"Look at campaign posters," Marshbaum commanded. "They all say the same thing. You can just change the candidates' names and faces and no one will even notice."
"People don't vote for someone based upon posters," I said.
"You think voters actually read those newspaper articles or go to debates? It's all name recognition. You have more posters and ads than the next guy, and you win. You get three words on a poster. Try 'fair,' 'tough,' and 'experienced' Add a picture of the family for newspaper and TV ads, and mix it in with campaign promise not to raise taxes, and you have election assured."
"There's probably some law that prevents politicians from lying."
"Even for being a journalist, you're rather dense," said Marshbaum. "The FCC says it's OK to lie."
"The Federal Communications Commission gives its approval?" I asked skeptically.
"The FCC says that radio and TV stations can't refuse to run political ads even if the station management knows the ads are outright lies. Law says if a station takes even one ad from one candidate for federal office, it has to take all ads from all candidates for that office, even if the ad is highly offensive."
"I'm sure when Congress wakes up they'll change this insane law." Marshbaum just laughed. "Most people don't believe most of what they see on TV anyhow," I sniffed.
"Don't like the FCC and Congress? The Supreme Court said it was OK to lie," said Marshbaum.
"The Supremes said lying to the people is acceptable?" I scoffed.
"OK, not the U. - -S -. Supreme Court, but A Supreme Court."
"Which one? In Kabul?"
"Albany. The New York Supreme Court."
"Marshbaum, not even New York's court could be that incompetent."
"Got it right here," he said, taking a wadded paper from his pocket. Case of O'Reilly v. Mitchell. Guy named O'Reilly sued a politician named Mitchell in 1912 and charged him with making promises that weren't kept."
"A promise is a verbal contract," I said. "I'm sure you read it wrong. The Court undoubtedly upheld O'Reilly's claims."
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