The First Class War Attack Ad

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 27 2012 @ 10:16am

In a world of turmoil and constant change, there's a strange comfort in knowing our political ads stay the same:

"The Oldway and the New" is a 1912 campaign film put out by the Democratic National Committee on behalf of candidate Woodrow Wilson. Housed at the Library of Congress, it is the earliest known example of a political party or candidate using the medium of motion picture to communicate with voters.

And the subject? Massive concentrations of wealth in the private sector:

This film portrays Republican William Howard Taft as a mouthpiece for special interest groups and Woodrow Wilson as a champion of working class citizens aspiring to the ranks of business owners. … In 1912, large trusts and corporations were amassing power and exerting their influence over Americans' private lives. This made financial regulation a major platform issue for the candidate. Likewise, financial regulation remains a topic of political debate to this day. "The over-the-top comic approach of the film suggests that the success of those who already have wealth will somehow trickle down through better wages for workers is a joke," [Trygve Throntveit, US historian and Wilson scholar] said.