Date of Award

4-24-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Anthony Peacock

Abstract

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010) has been touted as both champion and destroyer of First Amendment free speech rights. It remains a controversial decision of which we are only beginning to see its true effects. The case brought rise to the Super PACs commonly denounced in the media and the vast amount of money that comes with them. We have seen negative and positive campaign ads that candidates for election don’t have to answer to. In order to truly understand these effects, I examined the Supreme Court’s decision to determine its line of reasoning as well as media reactions to the case results. Many have expressed concern over a corporation’s ability to buy elections by using their monetary resources for political advertisements. Others have taken a more humorous approach to the case outcome in order to explain the new regulations, or lack thereof, to the general public. While it is still too early to tell just how much PACs could affect the election process, it is clear that there has been a large amount of money (over $88 million on the 2012 election cycle alone) spent on media (such as television and radio advertisements) related to candidates for political office. Most of these advertisements have been negative in hopes of dissuading voters from certain candidates. More in-depth research would be required to determine how effective these ads are and ultimately how much of a true effect the extra money has made on the system.

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