Election 2012

Reason TV Replay: Attack Ads, Circa 1800

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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.

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  1. I just watched Matt Welch on the Melissa Whosis Whatsis show. It was painful to watch. Did you have fun getting shouted down every time you opened your mouth, Matt?

    Something bad would happen if I ever found myself in the same room with that retard (and I am not referring to Welch).

    1. I didn’t see it but the guest list included Katherine van der Dipshit. I’d have to break my tv if I were watching that.

    2. Holy crud, that guest list reads like a people’s revolutionary committee.

    3. Why would anyone to the right of Keith Olbermann go on MSNBC?

  2. Sounds like a pretty rock solid plan to me dude.

    http://www.AnonFolks.tk

  3. The only thing more eye-roll inducing than somebody complaining about political discourse is somebody complaining that we’re too divided. That’s code for “Waah! You won’t let me pass my agenda!”

  4. The problem I have with any discussion of how TV news in the ’60s was a shared experience, or how newscasters were less biased, are not just paternalistic and nostalgic views, they also ignore that network news is much the same as it always was, and that bias and fighting was always a part of newspapers, magazines, and zines.

    1. It’s gotten much worse in the past few years. You think Walter Cronkite, a die hard liberal himself, would have countenanced broadcasting a news special from the White House press room during a debate over the president’s signature bill? You think Ed Murrow would have approved of cropping the photo of a Tea Party protester to hide the fact that he was black?

      1. St. Uncle Walter? Hah.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/n…..-halo.html

  5. While it’s true that campaigns have always been nasty, the problem now is that there is no mostly-neutral news media left now. While there was always arguably a slight liberal bias in story selection and framing in the broadcast news and CNN, it’s become horrifically blatant the past few years… bald-faced lying in support of the left has become the norm rather than the exception. It’s pretty freaking sad when PBS is the closest thing we have to a neutral news source these days.

    1. You should really research the history of the broadsheet. Partisan news has always been the norm. The genius of guys like Heart, Lippmann, and Cronkite was a half-century whitewash of this fact and selling themselves as nonpartisan. Read some of the things that Swift wrote editorially. They are absolute kneecappings on par (but better written) with anything in the Post, NYT, or Fox News.

  6. I recommend this book on Abraham Lincoln by Larry Tagg

    http://www.amazon.com/THE-UNPO…..1932714618

    “The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation. His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion. People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party. His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world. The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President. The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger. Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.”

    That quote comes from an Illinois paper in 1861. Just think what they thought of him down in Mississippi in 1861.

    1. Euro pandering in 1861. At least it isn’t new

  7. There is one key difference between campaign attacks, then and now. Then, they were more articulate, artful and entertaining. Today’s attacks are not only venal, they are, to borrow the phrase of the antebellum-era writer, quoted by Lyle, above, “imbecilic in matter, disgusting in manner.”

  8. The Presidential Election of 1828, between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, was also quite harsh. Adams was accused of pimping teenage girls to the Czar while serving as Minister to Russia while Jackson was called a bigamist and the son of a prostitute.

  9. Went to a John Prine show last night and he made some anecdote about hanging with bonnie raitt in tennesse recently. So he mentions Randy Newman’s new song ‘I’m Dreaming of a White President’ and the audience (mostly retarded Lefties) mostly gasped.I guess to be a Liberal you have too completely NOT understand irony. So when I got home, I googled the new song and found some awful interview of Newman on Slate, tripping over himself over-explaining the meaning and then giving the usual tribal platitudes to antfarm Obama cultists that he did consider the possible wrong take children could garner from it.

    Boy did Newman get it wrong. An audience of mostly Lefty adults didn’t even ‘get it’. In any case, Newman’s song is written in the voice of a social Conservative in the vein of whomever that Republican losing in the Missouri Senate race is. I can appreciate the song as long as it includes the bigots who populate the Democratic party. Fair enough there are plenty of Dem Pres’s in the video. But definitely not enough TR and Wilson, the true white supremacist Progressives.

  10. Went to a John Prine show last night and he made some anecdote about hanging with bonnie raitt in tennesse recently. So he mentions Randy Newman’s new song ‘I’m Dreaming of a White President’ and the audience (mostly retarded Lefties) mostly gasped.I guess to be a Liberal you have too completely NOT understand irony. So when I got home, I googled the new song and found some awful interview of Newman on Slate, tripping over himself over-explaining the meaning and then giving the usual tribal platitudes to antfarm Obama cultists that he did consider the possible wrong take children could garner from it.

    Boy did Newman get it wrong. An audience of mostly Lefty adults didn’t even ‘get it’. In any case, Newman’s song is written in the voice of a social Conservative in the vein of whomever that Republican losing in the Missouri Senate race is. I can appreciate the song as long as it includes the bigots who populate the Democratic party. Fair enough there are plenty of Dem Pres’s in the video. But definitely not enough TR and Wilson, the true white supremacist Progressives.

    1. Flying squirrels are not capable of powered flight like birds or bats; instead, they glide between trees. They are capable of obtaining lift within the course of these flights, with flights recorded to 90 meters (295 ft).[2][3] The direction and speed of the animal in midair is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs, largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones.[4] This changes the tautness of the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle.[4] It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail acts as an adjunct airfoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.[5]

    2. …and so I post more shit never to be seen. End of the post comments: the lonliest opinion ever. I’m starting to believe in God. A smart god would never allow anyone to take me seriously.

    3. We know the Left can’t laugh at a joke unless its making fun of white southerners.

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