Friday, January 19, 2007
The Original Attack Ad?
Political liberals claim that conservatives have nearly perfected the art of political attack ads. Attack advertising demonstrates weakness and lack of integrity. Conservatives have unfortunately been very successful with attack ads. But way back near the beginning of television broadcasting, I think the liberals probably had the first attack advertisement. Although untrue, it was very effective.
Attack ads, in my opinion, are political advertisements that are based very little on the substance of of a political candidate's views. They are, rather, an attempt to instill fear into voters in order to get them to vote against a particular candidate's opponent instead of for the candidate himself.
Unfortunately in American society, political attack ads have come to be seen as legitimate entertainment, and thus have become accepted by large segments of society.
Conservative political candidates have been very successful with attack ads. This is unfortunate. Attacks such as these serve no other purpose than to polarize society. It's much more important (and in the long run more effective) for a candidate to simply compare and contrast his or her views with those of his or her opponent. It is correct for liberal politicians and voters to decry such demagoguery.
But liberals use attack ads probably as effectively as conservatives. And I think liberals might have been the first to use the attack advertisement. When I was a young child (not old enough to have remembered the original) I remember seeing a replay the following attack that the Lyndon Johnson campaign perpetrated against Barry Goldwater. The contrasting images of the little girl and the mushroom cloud have had a lasting impression on me. The Daisy Girl ad convinced many Americans that Goldwater's stance against communism would lead to nuclear annihilation, which was untrue.
Attack advertising is inappropriate. It doesn't really matter who started it. Conservatives and liberals alike should demonstrate their integrity by refusing to produce and air attack ads.