OK, Maybe Not Stunned
I received several emails over the weekend calling me out on the post I put up last Thursday. In the item, I wrote that I was stunned by both the number and nastiness of negative ads (especially from outside groups) run wall-to-wall, during a single half-hour interval on the local evening news. In response, multiple readers suggested that I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) have been surprised by all of the negativity, or the onslaught of group ads.
In thinking again about the episode, and looking back over some of my previous posts, this point is well-taken. I’ve argued for some time that the advocacy group ads are here to stay, and will only get worse. I guess my reaction to the ads was more one of general disappointment that we had already reached a saturation point still almost three weeks out from the election. But yes, I suppose I wasn’t surprised to see it.
I do, however, stand by my argument that this cacophony of negativity may cause undecided voters to tune it all out earlier than ever before. Even I was hitting the mute button by the end of the half-hour. As I also suggested, it is possible that these ads might at least have a mobilizing effect on committed partisans, which I guess would please the relevant campaigns and outside groups.
Note: Back posting on Wednesday. -Dean

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