"Gotcha! journalism might be entertaining television, but I don't believe it's sound journalism. It's hypocrisy at its best." Angelo Persichilli, The Hill Times.
Are negative campaign ads harmful to the democratic process? Do voters tune out the moment campaigns go negative?
Political Scientist Kenneth Goldstein, UW-Madison, says no. He argues that negative campaign ads like the one posted below actually benefit voters by presenting factual distinctions between candidates.
Goldstein claims that attack ads and hit pieces are "a kind of mult-vitamin for the democratic process, sparking voters' interest and participation."
"There's this gut reaction that if a political advertisement is negative, it must have a deleterious affect on American politics," says Goldstein. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, the more that people are exposed to negative advertising, the more they know, the more engaged they are and the more likely they are to vote." (Quote taken from an article by Dennis Chaptman, 1/2008, published in the University of Wisconsin-Madison News).
Chaptman includes several examples of ads, (both positive and negative for readers to review). http://www.news.wisc.edu/14606
Closer to home, a Washington State Organization, called FUSE -- sent out the following e-mail on Tuesday to announce that it has launched a campaign blitz against Dino Rossi called "Buildergate."
**Please note that a Thurston County Superior Court Judge ruled last week that the BIAW can use Return on Industrial Insurance (ROII) profits to support campaigns during the 2008 election cycle. Additional information about the case can be found in an article published by The Olympian. http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/598389.html
**Rob McKenna, Washington State Attorney General, recently filed two lawsuits against the builders for not reporting the funds, as required by Public Disclosure law. The press release can be located here: http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?&id=21004
Here's the electronic press release from FUSE.
"New evidence released today clearly proves that Dino Rossi played an important role in the illegal BIAW fundraising campaign now being prosecuted by the Attorney General. In fact, Rossi was the only collaborator in the illegal fundraising scheme who was not a senior officer of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW)."'Buildergate' is a major scandal for Dino Rossi - the facts clearly show he played an important role in an illegal fundraising campaign orchestrated by an ultraconservative trade association of powerful developers to support his run for governor," said Aaron Ostrom, Executive Director of Fuse. "And this may only be the tip of the iceberg." Fuse is calling for the immediate appointment of a Special Prosecutor to fully investigate Dino Rossi's role in this fundraising scandal. The clear documentation of Dino Rossi's direct and active participation in the BIAW's illegal fundraising campaign makes it extremely important that the public have access to the full information about his role in the dealings as soon as possible. Fuse was created to fight for the power of ordinary people in politics, and against the corrupting influence of wealthy and powerful special interests. We all need to know the entire story about the BIAW's collaboration with Dino Rossi. Please sign our petition to the Attorney General, and review the full facts about this situation.
Two weeks ago the Chair of the State Public Disclosure Commission found that the participants in this illegal activity reached a "meeting of the minds" and demonstrated an "egregious lack of judgment." What he didn't know at that time was that the participants in this illegal activity included Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Dino Rossi.The evidence clearly shows that Dino Rossi contacted all of the top officers of at least one BIAW chapter, urging them to contribute to the BIAW's war chest for the Governor's race - blatantly known to BIAW members as their "Fund for Rossi." These calls were part of an illegal fundraising campaign that is now being prosecuted by the Attorney General.The facts of the Buildergate fundraising scandal, including all of the claims in this email, are clearly outlined and documented on our website. The website includes additional information about the BIAW's financial and legislative relationship with Dino Rossi over the years.Click on this link to sign our petition to the Attorney General, and to review the full facts about this situation.
More information about FUSE can be found here: http://www.fusewashington.org/page/s/buildergate
The flip side --
"Voters tuning out from soap opera election coverage", by By Angelo Persichilli, The Hill Times. http://www.thehilltimes.ca/members/login.php?fail=2&destination=/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2008/september/22/backrooms/&c=2
"All News fit to Smear" by Andrea Peyser, of the New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/seven/02222008/news/columnists/all_news_fit_to_smear_98809.htm