posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 10:26 AM
I'll tell you what gets me angry. When I'm for someone and I see postings that are either ridiculous distortions of that person's position or
simply don't have any truth at all in them. I also despise the tendency to apply misleading labels to to a person or policy.
There are two reasons why this happens (well, maybe three). The first, as has already been stated, is that about 15 years ago there was some pretty
intensive research into negative political ads and whether or not they work -- especially as compared with positive ads. The research clearly showed
that negative advertising was effective while positive advertising was generally a waste of money. In fact, negative advertising was even quite
effective among people who said they hated negative ads. The reason revolved around source credibility: just like any product consumers expected a
politician to run positive ads about him/herself. They just dismissed it as propoganda, basically. But when the ad was negative, for some reason
people thought thet were getting "the real dirt," even though some of these ads were laughable exaggerations and misleading to the point of being
dishonest. In time, research found that negative campaigns in general, not just advertising, was more effective.
The second is that some campaigns try to go for what is now politely called "the low information voter." These are people who are pretty ignorant
of the issues and are often (but not always) not very smart. It's easy to get them riled up by demonizing whole groups of people and basically lying
about what an opponent wants to do.
The third is the political discussion in the MSM. 30 years ago, politics was considered dry and most people considered it boring. For the most part,
only intellectuals were really interested in it. Then, it was discovered that if you rant and rave, insult people, ridicule people and distort their
position, condemn them and (especially) hang labels on them, you started getting good ratings from people who otherwise would have found any show
about politics boring: essentially, dumb people. And it's easy to get dumb people all worked up and motivated to vote against the "scumbag enemies
of the country" who want to do something different than they do.
It's too bad. It used to be that, while liberals and conservatives were almost always in opposition, at the end of the day both sides realized the
other was necessary. Conservatives were necessary to prevent the country from falling into a "flavor-of-the-week" mentality and grabbing the latest
trend. Liberals were necessary to keep the country from becoming ossified and making sure new ideas were tried.
We're not like that any more. We hate each other, and it's virtually impossible to have an intelligent conversation when it comes to politics.
[edit on 3-11-2008 by ClintK]