Dirty Politics

Election season is upon us, and political games are already at play in the Buckeye State.

While the best political campaigns are void of mud-slinging, it tends to be the dirty, finger-pointing campaigns that draw the most attention.

Oftentimes clips of political figures or other individuals are used by opponents and taken out of context for the benefit of a certain candidate or cause. Such is apparently the case in Ohio, where action is being sought to prevent the use of campaign materials.

Last week, Ohio Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) announced that she would soon be introducing legislation to tweak election laws in response to a recent ad campaign.

The “Zoey Protection Act” stems from a commercial many of us have seen hit the airwaves this election season. It features Marlene Quinn, great-grandmother of a young child name Zoey who was rescued from a burning home by a fireman. The commercial was produced for We Are Ohio, the group urging a no vote on Issue 2 – the issue related to Senate Bill 5 which limits bargaining rights for public employees in unions.

Controversy erupted over an opposing campaign ad sponsored by Building a Better Ohio, which supports Issue 2. That commercial took audio of Mrs. Quinn and video from the original ad and used it in clip that has aired statewide urging voters to vote “yes” on Issue 2. The video doesn’t cite or reference its origination, according to Rep. Heard, who described the action as willful and deliberate hoax on the voters of the state.

The new bill would prohibit campaign materials for a candidate or ballot issue from using an image, audio clip or video that was originally used by another candidate or campaign issue without crediting the original source of the material.

Quinn and We Are Ohio supporters were reportedly “shocked” by the opposing ad, and pleaded for its removal. Television stations across the state pulled the ad, Heard said, but Building a Better Ohio never admitted to making a mistake. They stood by the ad, claiming they followed the “letter of the law,” and Gov. John Kasich reportedly stated that the ad was “fine,” Heard noted.

Credit or no credit for the video clips, this new legislation won’t stop the fact that politics can be a dirty game, and nothing is going to change that.