Great Job, Internet!: How political ads use cinematic tricks to get their messages across

Between now and the general election in November, the American public will endure countless hours of political ads on television and the internet. There’s no way to sugarcoat this: It’s going to suck. And voters should be made aware of the tricks and tropes that political ads use to convey their frequently dubious messages. Video essayist Jack Nugent has devoted an episode of his Now You See It webseries to dissecting campaign ads.

As Nugent points out, today’s slickly produced political commercials employ cinematic techniques that date back at least a century. One such technique is montage, which allows editors to juxtapose shots in such a way that images appear related to one another through proximity, whether or not there’s any connection between them. In the video, Alfred Hitchcock, a master of montage, is shown demonstrating the technique to an interviewer. A brief film sequence seemingly …

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