Most political attack ads look about the same: blurry picture of the candidate, out-of-context quote on the screen and foreboding music. Yet even though you'd think we'd be immune to them by now, since we've seen so many, they remain the bread and butter of American political races. Well, the attack ad is becoming the latest form of media to go down the user-created route. A new site lets anyone create them using stock video footage, and an easy drag-and-drop editing system. Users can then add text and music, to give it just the right touch. And though it might seem pointless, there could be a useful purpose of web-based supporter-created ads. In typical TV-based ads, candidates like to hit on the big issues of the day, so that their message resonates with most of the viewers, giving them the most bang for the buck. A 30 second spot doesn't leave much room for issues that appeal to small niche of voters, like, say, the gambling ban or a politician's stance on net neutrality. But just as the internet helps expand long tail possibilities in many other areas, so too could it in political advertising. There's another reason why this kind of thing might take off. Often, there are some topics that a candidate just won't touch in an ad, like if their opponent had some very embarrassing personal incident. Going after that usually just makes the attacking candidate look bad. But when fringe third parties can do the advertising, candidates can distance themselves from the attack -- triangulating, as they call it. So from this angle, cheap technology to make and distribute ads may pave the way for a new level of political nastiness.
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