The Difference Between A Nasty Political Smear Ad & A Negative Fact About The Opponent
The national election is still about 6 months away, but we’ve already been treated to the primaries and if you look at the statements, speeches and especially ads that came this primary season, which now lasts almost 2 years, it’s a good barometer for what we’re likely to experience in the upcoming months. I think I’d rather watch sausage being made.
You’ll hear lots of complaints about “smear” campaigns by both sides and by an army of “unaffiliated” groups, who in the name of free speech unleash a tsunami of bile in ads that neither candidate approves of and neither candidate does anything to stop either.
So in the fervor of running for the Presidency of the entire country, isn’t it fair to say negative, true things about your opponent? To point out your opponents failures, short-sightedness, lack of experience, poor judgment while touting your own accomplishments, credentials and wisdom? Now that I think of it, an ad that’s positive by any measure is a rarity. But, yes, it is fair to do that, but it’s not fair to be nasty and “smear” your opponent.
So what’s the difference between a “smear’ and stating a “negative fact?” Here’s the difference: a “smear” is something negative you say about me, and a statement of “negative fact” is something I say about you.
So why do they keep selling this junk to us? Because we keep buying it, that’s why. In the voting booth it seem all too often to be about who scares us less. Another way of putting that is, the one who scares us less is the one who had the less effective “smear” campaign directed at him or her, or the “negative facts” he or she stated were more threatening than the other sides..
This is the shortest piece I think I’ve written since 8th Grade when Mrs. Karabinchek wanted a 200 word essay and in a move I can only describe as sneaky and daring, I it in at 199, on purpose, to see if she’d notice. Maybe I shouldn’t put that out in public in case I ever do run for President. Would you elect the man who “cheated in school and hates educators?” I wouldn’t.
What’s your opinion. I’d like to hear from you. You can reply on this blog or write to firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks for reading. Prof. Dave