Reason TV Replay: Attack Ads, Circa 1800


ABC News mainstay Ted Koppel recently took on "the truthsayers" during an segment for the show Rock Center. The veteran former host of Nightline tried to make the case that characters ranging from Bill O'Reill to Bill Maher to Ann Coulter are driving contemporary political discourse to horrifying new lows.

If the idea that politics is particularly nasty these days sounds familiar, that because we've been hearing that cri de coeur for our entire lives. As has the country.

Return now to one of the most popular Reason TV videos of all time, Meredith Bragg's "Attack Ads, Circa 1800," which was originially released on October 28, 2010, and provides a compelling, convincing, and hilarious alternative reading of history. And unlike ongoing fretting over whether "this is the dirtiest election season ever," is grounded in actual history.

Original writeup:

Have this year's negative political ads really "taken dirty to a whole new level, as CNN's Anderson Cooper frets? Is a "return to civility…a relic of a bygone era," as President Barack Obama laments?

Er, not exactly.

If anonymous political speech, the other widely decried villain of this political season, helped found the United States, attack ads are as American as apple pie. If you fancy yourself a patriot or a history buff, you will most certainly approve this message, which is taken from statements made by, for, and against the nation's founders. For historical sources, go here.

Approximately 1.45 minutes. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg. Voiced by Caleb Brown, Michael C. Moynihan, and Austin Bragg.

Check out "The Positives of Negative Campaigning," why "Attack Ads Are Good For You." and Reason's 2006 list of the "Top 10 Dirtiest Political Campaigns" in U.S. history.