FactCheck.org remains one of the few truly objective political observer websites, great for using Occam’s razor to cut through the lies and manure that comes from our politicians and MEDIA. From demonstrating that The Imam’s building is not really a mosque to showing studies that immigration does not cost American jobs, Factcheck.org is a great resource for everyone who… just wants the facts.
Right now, FactCheck is focused on the local campaigns around the country. Basically, FactCheck is systematically ripping every ad and commercial from local candidates. What this does is prove a point that we already knew: every political campaign commercial we see on TV, hear on radio, and come across on the Internet or road billboards is laced with half-truths, blatant lies, and omissions- from minor details to major untruths.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means that the campaign reform that President Obama and others had promised is still not a reality. As long as there is freedom of speech and as long as we keep voting the same people in office, there will be no real change to prevent mudslinging. Negative ad campaigning is here to stay.
Heck, I recall Obama vowing not to sink down to that level- how he wanted to clean up how politicking should be done- but as I blogged then, from June 3, when the Democratic primaries ended, through Sept. 7 the McCain campaign ran 76,238 negative ads against Obama, and the Obama campaign placed 75,246 negative commercials against McCain.
Why is mudslinging so bad? Well, lying is one of those universal immoral actions, acceptable only to save lives or to prevent some other tragedy. For our “leaders” to be using misleading advertising is unacceptable. Secondly, the voter who is assaulted by these commercials will soon realize that both candidates are corrupt and/or incompetent. This creates voter apathy and low turnouts, which keeps the status quo.
Yes, the United States system of campaigning is better than some other countries (where violence and death threats are the norm) but we still have a long way to go.
Claude Adkin’s rule of thumb for marketing and advertising of products:
To attack a rival is never good advertising. Don’t point out others’ faults. It is not permitted in the best mediums. It is never good policy. The selfish purpose is apparent. It looks unfair, not sporty. If you abhor knockers, always appear a good fellow. Show a bright side, the happy and attractive side, not the dark and uninviting side of things. Show beauty, not homeliness; health, not sickness. Don’t show the wrinkles you propose to remove, but the face as it will appear. Your customers know all about wrinkles.
Imagine if politicians used that rule of thumb. Too bad campaign managers believe that negative ad campaigns are effective in the political arena, and candidates still follow the ancient law of “An eye for an eye”. Negative ad campaigning is nothing new, and it is obvious how public faith in the president, Congress, Senate, and local politicians has taken a nose dive since negative campaign started on television.
Yes, it’s true that a negative pamphlet campaign was used in 1828, but things really started to get out of control with the growth of television, especially in 1964 (LBJ vs Goldwater). The American people have given our leaders a vote of no-confidence, starting with the negative commercials and continuing with the average American feeling without true representation once they are in office. It’s an elite club, and we are left out. We don’t have faith in politicians or the democratic process anymore.
Pragmatists say “We all hate negative ad campaigning…but it works.”
Well, define “works”.
The only thing it works in doing is dividing voters and creating disillusionment and apathy.
Call to action? Force candidates to NOT mention show, or acknowledge their opponents during ads. Never going to happen. Yawn.
Well, today is September 11, 2010.
I can think of nothing to add from my 9/11 2008 article, which was truly my final say about the tragedy of 9/11.
As every year has passed since 2001, the strong emotions have left the average American- as grief should, however. Without the symbolic capture of Osama bin Laden, we have unresolved issues, and some of us focus them on Islam and American Muslims. In 2010, we have allowed 9/11 to become sabotaged by extremists from both sides. It truly reached a peak this week, as based on many comments on the Internet, it seemed as if everyone went NUTS and wanted to start a Holy War.