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6/21/2004
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In political campaigns, an attack ad is an advertisement whose message is designed to wage a personal attack against an opposing candidate or political party in order to gain support for the attacking candidate and attract voters. Attack ads often form part of negative campaigning or smear campaigns, and in large or well-financed campaigns, may be disseminated via mass media. An attack ad will generally unfairly criticize an opponent's political platform, usually by pointing out its faults. Often the ad will simply make use of innuendo, based on opposition research. Televised attack ads rose to prominence in the United States in the 1960s, especially since Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require over-the-air commercial TV stations with licenses issued by the FCC—effectively all regulated TV stations, since others would either be public television or be pirated—to air political ads by both parties, whether it be attack ads or more traditional political ads. Although cable television and the Internet are not required to air such ads, attack ads have become commonplace on both mediums as well.
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Attack ads
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