Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Anne Johnston | Go to book overview

NOTES
1.
This panel consisted of the following experts who were assembled in the fall of 1992 to discuss and formulate preliminary guidelines: (1) Richard Johannesen ( Northern Illinois University), author of several books and articles on ethics in human communication; (2) Franklyn Haiman ( Northwestern University), author of several well-known works on freedom of speech and democratic ideals; and (3) Lee Wilkins ( University of Missouri-Columbia), author of several books on journalism and communication ethics.
2.
The guidelines used to determine if a particular technology had been used in a potentially unethical way are as follows:
a. Video or audio editing techniques in which cutting or re-positioning is used to create a false or misleading impression. This may include video/audio techniques that juxtapose mismatched pictures and/or audio; use of video or audio technology to alter the actual features or characteristics on the screen as in computer alteration of physical features of an individual or of settings; use of voice acceleration techniques in audio; and any other editing or special effects techniques, including morphing, animation, sound effects or music, slow or fast motion, and so on.
b. Audio or video technology used in a spot to create "pseudo-neutrality" or "pseudo-actuality" (examples: false news sets, false press conferences or news reporter questioning, false or staged debate formats, dramatizations).
c. Audio or video technology used in a spot to evoke an irrelevant or unjustified emotional response. In judging whether the use of the technology to create emotional response is ethically suspect, it is important to consider the relevance of the emotion elicited and the degree or proportionality of the reality of the emotion. Irrelevant and disproportionate emotional responses that might be elicited by technological devices would include positive emotions (confidence, euphoria) as well as negative emotions (fear, hostility).
d. Audio or video technology that is used to ridicule an opponent or idea in an unjustified or irrelevant way. Ridicule may be more acceptable if some basis or justification is offered for the ridicule and/or if the reason for the ridicule or its basis is itself particularly relevant to electoral decision making.
e. Audio or video technology that is used to condemn or criticize any opponent, group or idea based on race, religion, ethnic origin, or gender. This category would include unjustified and irrelevant stereotyping.

Not all of these categories of potential abuses are reported here, but this list made up the initial guidelines from which the project proceeded.

3.
Intercoder reliability averaged +.97 across all categories. The individual reliability for each category varied from a low of +.86 for several of the technological techniques categories and +.88 for the image/issue distinction to a high of +.99 for several categories.
4.
This research was partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Awards # SBR-9729450 and SBR-9412925.

-146-

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