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Monday, August 06, 2012

Negative Political Ads Void of Solutions

Negative political ads don't offer solutions, only confusion. They're especially dangerous given the millions of people whose only source of political information is from watching selected television.  Even CNN's objective journalism is loosing TV ratings.

Now, the National Chamber of Commerce is even running negative ads! An amateurish negative ad is showing on Maine television stations about former Governor Angus King, who is running for US Senate as an Independent.  It's a horrible ad, regardless of what it's trying to say. Funded by the National Chamber of Commerce, the ad just brings down the credibility of the organization's membership.  

Expensive negative political ads don't solve problems.  Rather, they're an expensive way to create confusion, spread misinformation and demoralize voters.  Which, unfortunately, is precisely why they work.  

Negative ads aren't designed to win votes. They're created to dissuade people from voting altogether.  

Republicans "hell bent" on winning elections and owning the candidates they support would do anything, regardless of how much money it costs, to prevent people from voting.  By dissuading voters with demoralizing media blitzes, Republicans can vote their own way and take ownership of government. They want to buy influence, so they can call their selfishness "democracy according to them".  Tax cutting policies will benefit their wealth, while they can vote to spend our middle class tax monies the way they see fit.  To do this, they are creating confusion among voters and promoting draconian voter registration laws so only like minded Republicans will go to the polls.  

Negative political ads don't provide evidence to support their claims.  Harmful visual images with somber voice overs suggest "this" or "that" awful lie is a reality or truth.  But, they don't stand up to cross examination.  Fact finding websites break down negative messages into fact and fiction, but ordinary working people can't keep verifying the cascading half truths and accusations. 

As if getting away with lying isn't tragic enough, negative political ads even create their own legends. Political strategist Karl Rove is now legendary for his involvement in creating the "swift boat" negative ads, attacking Senator John Kerry for being a decorated Viet Nam War veteran! As a result of the seedy success of those ads,  "swiftboating" is now a stand alone concept.

"The word swiftboating is an American neologism used pejoratively to describe an unfair or untrue political attack. The term is derived from the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (formerly "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," or SBVT) widely publicized, then discredited, campaign against 2004 US Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry."

Non-profit organizations like the Chamber of Commerce should be the last organization on the planet to pay for costly negative political ads.  Chamber members harp about efficiency in government and fiscal austerity, but dues are now paying for negative political ads to influence a Maine Senate race.  Why? 

Just like the wasteful ads themselves, the negative strategy makes no sense.  Governor Angus King is probably the most pro-small business advocate of the Chamber of Commerce of any political candidate, anywhere.  Negative ads paid for by a group called National Chamber of Commerce are out of line making accusations against Mr. King.  Moreover, real business people in Maine have stood up in opposition to the ads. Nevertheless, the ads keep showing because anonymous donors are paying for them. They're a huge waste of money!  Rather than throwing money into political campaigns, the National Chamber of Commerce should be investing in job making seminars.

Negative political ads are void of solutions, but they have the potential to influence voters' moods.  It's too simplistic to suggest that positive political ads would inform confused voters and motivate election turnout.  There's likely no end in sight to the negative ad campaign because money to fund them appears inexhaustible.

Do we dare to demand solutions from groups like the National Chamber of Commerce and other political action committees? Would they run ads suggesting how to solve political grid lock in Washington?  Not likely.

One solution is to find even more money to fund informative political action committee ads.

Perhaps the only solution negative political ads offer to voters is for us to turn off our television sets, rather than expose ourselves to anxiety provoking false messages.

Most important, we must solve the anonymity surrounding these ads like an electric fence, so voters can determine who or what is motivating the wasteful expense of so much money.



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