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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2010 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Attack! Attack! Attack!

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Didn’t all those political attack ads on TV get you really angry this year? No, they didn’t.

Didn’t all those negative ads make you really disgusted with the American political system? Liar.

Didn’t those so-called comparative ads turn you off? Baloney.

Those are the kinds of things pollsters ask potential voters, but many, many people don’t tell pollsters the truth.

And why should they?

It’s dinnertime, you are trying to get your daughter to stop texting for five minutes and eat something, the baby is screaming, the dog is barking and the phone rings. Somebody with a bored-as-hell voice (or maybe it’s a computer with a bored-as-hell voice) starts asking you personal questions. Aren’t you offended by misleading, repellent, offensive, un-American campaign ads on TV? they ask.

Uh, well, what should you say to this stranger? Should you say, no, you kind of like the ads because at least they aren’t as boring as paper towel commercials?

Of course not. That’s not the kind of answer the caller wants to hear. So you say, “I hate attack ads because it’s American to hate attack ads, and I’m an American. Now I’ve got to go because the baby is trying to eat from the dog’s dish.”

So the outcome is poll results and academic papers arguing that attack ads are counterproductive because voters hate them.

But you know what? Politicians don’t believe that. They believe attack ads work — which is why they have poured nearly a half-billion dollars into them this year, making 2010 “the most negative campaign in recent history by both sides,” according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks such things.

“More than half of all ads are pure attack ads,” says Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University.

According to the project, “attack ads have steadily increased since the 2004 election, and the 2010 House and Senate advertising is the most negative in the past decade.” But you knew that, didn’t you? You knew that just by turning on your television set.

The question, however, is why.

I have three reasons:

• Attack ads give you the biggest bang for the buck. If you do a positive ad, you have to spend millions on airtime to reach a lot of people. But if you run an attack ad — Harry Reid calling Sharron Angle “pathological” in the race for the Senate in Nevada, for instance — that is picked up by YouTube, newspapers, radio, cable TV, the blogosphere, everybody. And all that is free. Attack ads make economic sense. 

• Attack ads work, because the truth doesn’t really matter. Every time I read a scholarly essay telling me how attack ads offend voters with inaccuracy and irresponsibility, I have to wonder what country these scholars are living in.

Don’t they remember the Swift Boat ads that sunk John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, transforming him from a decorated Vietnam war hero into a liar and a coward? Did it matter that the attacks were discredited by the media? Nope. And how about the Willie Horton ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988? Did it matter that the ad was meant to instill racist fears rather than address any serious political issue? Nope.

You can go all the way back to the most famous attack ad in history, the “Daisy” ad of 1964 that Lyndon B. Johnson used to convince voters Barry Goldwater would lead us into a nuclear war. It was used once by Johnson and then pulled, but it aired time and time again on television news and was widely discussed in print, all aiding Johnson in his landslide victory.

• It is easier to attack than to defend. Do you really want to explain the intricacies of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Public-Private Investment Program, the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Isn’t it just easier to say your opponent is a cheat, a liar, a witch or a sinner? Also, it is far better to attack first and force your opponent to defend than to be the victim forced to defend himself.

Not all attack ads work. Some are just silly. And all ads get boring eventually (or even sooner than eventually).

If, as a voter, you are genuinely sick of attack ads and the candidates who run them, there is a simple solution: Stop voting for these candidates.

What if both sides use attacks ads, however?

May I suggest a coin toss? The result might not lead to a Congress that is any worse.

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