Here we are talking about misleading political ads again. I can't help getting my hackles up about the latest Swift Boat ads*: 1, 2. Which brought me back to the subject we discussed a couple of weeks ago: how do you deal with misleading political ads? Rather than "filtering" ads through some kind of commission or media resource, I had this idea. Tell me what you think. Political ads must, by law, allow the opponent a chance for rebuttal. Here's how that would work. Let's say the Bush campaign wants to air one of their misleading ads. Fine. What happens then is, before it's aired, they have to submit their ad to an independent office, perhaps someone at the FEC. This person's job would turn around and hand the ad to the Kerry people. Kerry's staff would then have 48 hrs. to come up with a rebuttal. The rebuttal would consist of one of three forms: a rebuttal ad, of the same length, which must run immediately following the Bush ad, and which would be paid for by the Kerry staff; an obligatory "super" posted at the end of the Bush ad, to the effect of, "See www.johnkerry.com for a rebuttal to this ad"; no rebuttal at all. The choice would belong to the Kerry camp; they could handle it any way they want. They would turn in their choice to the same independent office at the FEC, who would ensure that the final ad (or ads) would air to the satisfaction of both parties. Let me make it clear: this FEC person would have absolutely no authority to edit or cancel any ad. He would only be an intermediary. And either party would be free to say what they want, and to request a rebuttal to the other party's ad. No party would be required to pay for anything they didn't want to (other than minor editing to insert the aforementioned "super"). This could also apply to the DNC/RNC ads, but I admit it does get a little trickier when you start talking about 527s like those Swift Boat jokers. Who responds to them? ACT? Moveon.org? How do you decide? Just a thought. * I've mirrored the ads on my own web space so you can see the ads without giving those jokers any more hits on their own site.