Reason on CNN, 8 p.m. ET



Tune in to tonight's episode of Paula Zahn Now at 8 p.m. ET and catch David Mark, author Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning and author of Reason's November cover story. Mark's feature "Attack Ads Are Good for You!" has been taking flack from weedy editorialists in states where the negative ads are outpacing even the HeadOn commercials.

"ATTACK ads are good for you!" heralds a headline in the current issue of Reason, a magazine that pitches right-wing and libertarian ideals under the guise of promoting "free minds and free markets."

But Mark (and Reason) have earned praise from other writers like Richard Reeves, especially for Mark's list of the 10 Dirtiest Political Races in U.S. History.

NEXT: Once More, With Foley

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  1. Wait, it’s a guise?

  2. yes, because of course, “libertarians” are really the DEBBIL!

  3. I swear, I’ll punch the next idiot who accuses me, or other libertarians, of being right-wing.

  4. “Too often, attack ads present facts or quotes out of context, to present a distorted view of a political candidate. And too often, they include outright lies.”

    So do positive ads run by candidates. Gov. Doyle in Wisconsin is running ads about the 170k jobs created on his watch. Of course he uses jobs stats that are not seasonally adjusted and begin in January (historically the annual low point for jobs). That job creation record is not compared to the national average or surrounding states. I would say that is taking facts out of context to present a distorted view of a political candidate.

    He also claims to have signed a property tax freeze. I guess that explains why my property taxes are going up at twice the rate of inflation. I’d call that an outright lie.

    “Negative campaigning is a fundamentally dishonest mode of political campaigning which we hope voters everywhere, not just in the Michigan governor’s race, will ignore this election season.”

    Apparently so is positive campaigning.

    At least negative campaigning is often entertaining.

  5. Number 6,

    When I got a Culpeper Minutemen tag for the front of my car after 9/11 (for the benefit of al Qaeda and of my government–don’t tread on me!), one of my co-workers suggested that that made me right of Attila the Hun. I’m not sure that Attila was a right-winger, but even if he was, that remark pissed me off to no end.

    It bugs me that the ideas and symbols of our founding are considered radical today. Distressing.

  6. Off topic:

    Did somebody finally replace the server squirrel?

  7. Will they be showing any more snipers lining up American soldiers?

    Henceforth, despicable CNN sucks balls.

  8. Bubba – you’ve got a problem with a news channel showing that stuff? Interesting.

  9. Can’t let the children (citizens) see anything disturbing like that. Heavens, no. I will now retire to my fainting couch.

  10. “Did somebody finally replace the server squirrel?”

    Yes, Tim is leaving to join the LA times.

  11. Showing people systematically aiming at American soldiers? (and then the fade to black after the shot as the narrator says “the figure falls in the distance.”) Yes, that’s fucking beyond sick and I believe that CNN crossed the line. I’ll never watch it again.

  12. If you believe that a) that tape had any news value and b) everything that can be televised therefore must be televised, then you suck the same balls that CNN does.

  13. What is this line? Our boys and girls are over there getting shot. I call that news.

  14. Bubba,

    Actually, it seems like you’re the one who likes to suck balls if you’re too much of a sissy to face the harsh realities of this bullshit war that our wise leaders got us into.

  15. I was once accused of being a “libertarian fascist”. I’m still trying to figure out what it means.

    When aiming is outlawed, only outlaws will aim.

  16. Had they not faded to black, or had they identified the soldiers, or used images that they could be identified through, I’d agree with you, Bubba.

    But they weren’t. The events are depicted as sad and disturbing, and the consequences are made very real for the viewer. The poor victims were humanized, and their comrades shown talking about it afterwards.

    I thought they handled the subject matter very tastefully. Certainly better than when Fox News played classical music over shots of bombs exploding in Baghdad.

  17. But if we allow minds and markets to be free, what will there be for the thieves, bullies, and busybodies who protect us all to do?

  18. It’s hard to object to the media showing or telling us the truth. Granted, the way it does present things is often biased towards a dramatic narrative (not necessarily a political one, by the way), but I can’t get too upset about facts. Whether doing such things is tasteful or appropriate or even ethical in a journalistic sense is a fair question, but that sort of analysis really stopped happening about 25 years ago. If it bleeds, it leads. Iraq is no different than the latest hot, young woman to disappear somewhere. If we had hot, young women dying in Iraq, there’d be a dedicated cable channel by now.

    Two close friends of mine who were in the TV news business left because they were absolutely appalled at the decision-making process in the news industry. They were upset primarily at how much marketing controlled the editorial process. Incidentally, these friends are quite far to the left on the political spectrum but oppose using the media to consciously bias the information being delivered. Especially when that bias hasn’t been openly disclosed.

  19. If I’m a sissy for blanching at CNN airing systematic preparations for killing American soldiers, then I’m a sissy.

    I know of no better definition of a pussy, however, than calling someone a sissy on a message thread.

    What a tough guy.

  20. Pro Lib:

    This is totally off-topic, but I have to say, every time I see your tag, my minds tells me I’m reading the words “Pro Liberace”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  21. Bubba – you were the one talking about sucking balls, I just wanted to keep the language at your level.

    Whatever – I think it’s newsworthy, you don’t. I think people should have to face the harsh realities of life, you don’t. Fine, I can live with us not being in agreement.

  22. I don’t think you’re a sissy, Bubba.

    I don’t know what your problem is. You haven’t really explained your objection, other than the references to teabagging.

    Bubba, how did you feel about the graphic visuals that flooded our televisions on 9/11?

  23. I swear, I’ll punch the next idiot who accuses me, or other libertarians, of being right-wing.

    To some people, there are two possible political viewpoints:

    1) What I agree with — reasonable common-sense stuff, with just enough progressive idealism to be considered “left of center.”

    2) Right-wing.

    So if it ain’t #1, then it must be #2.

    (And yes, there is a conservative counterpart — just trade “respect for traditional values” for “progressive idealism” and switch the words “left” and “right” around. These are the people who call libertarians “liberals.” [Not in the “classical liberal” sense– they’ve never heard that expression, and if they have, don’t know what it means.])

  24. bartman,

    I neither support nor oppose Liberace. Nor is my name George 🙂

    It’s the Wallace clan’s motto, incidentally, and means, of course, “for liberty”.

  25. Bubba: Having been shot at, let me tell you: one way this idiot war has been able to go on like it has is precisely because its all cleaned up & sanitized for nitwit domestic consumption.
    I got no more problem with that CNN bit (which I aint seen: I dont watch TV news) than I do with shots of flag draped coffins being flown into Andrews. War apologists & (to me) sissy “hide under the bed- Sandinista Tanks are three days from Brownsville” types get wound up over it tho. Hmmm. Whats that say about them?
    No big secret on lining up a shot, fella. Its part of the job.
    ProLiberace- I knew various network news guys the year I lived in Nicaragua. “How come your news articles are so full of shit?”- “Because Im here on an expense account. If I send articles back my editor wont publish- no matter how true they are- Ill get sent back” to NY, or LA, or whatever . “I never knew an editor who would knowingly print an article that would cost him sales” Mark Twain.
    Editors, & thier bosses, newspaper owners, are the chokepoint. Most of the actual reporters I met over time were pretty well thought out people. Thier job was pleasing thier editors. They did thier job. And for that, I find them contemptable. Sad, too.
    i assume Bubbas criticism is limited to just our guys getting it? Do you object to footage of “suspected” terroist positions being napalmed? “Suspected” terrorists getting machine gunned? Just curious.
    Me, I-havin “done that” albeit……jesus, 37 years ago? PREFER to know TV watchers actually see what this is about. Anything else is gutless sniveling.
    But thats just me.

  26. It seems that the utility of author’s argument depends on the nature of “negative campaigning.” It has to have some kernal of truth for it be useful in other words. So the question is, as a rule just how accurate is negative campaigning?

  27. I don’t think Bubba knows why he’s mad.

    I think some right-wing blogger saw the CNN piece, recognized that a media outlet was showing something disturbing and war-related, and decided it was a good opportunity to bang the old gong about the liberal media hating our country.

    So Bubba reads it, and is completely outraged that CNN would even consider showing such a thing.

  28. To be fair, there is the old ethical question of the city official who offed himself on camera. Do you show the photo of him with the gun in his mouth, the one with his brains blowing out, or the one with his body (and associated gore) on the floor and wall? That’s more a matter of taste, of course, than of bias.

  29. Since everything CNN does is intended to get Democrats elected, I never watch it. I’ll bet 9/11 footage is shown way less often than footage that makes viewers feel that the war is unwinnble. BTW, had CNN not covered Clinton’s ass with the WMD diversion, maybe we’d have thought Saddam was better dealt with after Iran.

  30. Can’t even spell my own name this morning, or winnable for that matter.

  31. Yeah, it’s really too bad that your spelling errors undermined the credibility of the comment beginning with, “Since everything CNN does is intended to get Democrats elected…”

    Now no one will respect you as a serious thinker.

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