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Government and Politics




Political air wars
Ohio attracts good, bad, and ugly campaign ads
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI
This story is part of a special series.


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
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In The Region:

Given the volume of political ads in Ohio, CBS’s Mo Rocca said this week  voters could be forgiven for believing that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are running for president of Ohio. WKSU’s Mark Urycki has this look at the political air-war in the Buckeye state.

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It is mostly an air war for the presidential race.  Commercial radio and television stations are getting rich from the wall-to-wall election ads this year.  The two major-party candidates and their allies have spent 109 million dollars on Ohio ads – with two weeks to go before the election.

One man trying to keep up with all those ads  is Bob Higgs of the Plain Dealer.  He and a team of about a dozen people manage the Ohio Politifact team that vets political statements and ads.  Higgs appreciates that his paper is large enough to do the work.

“I shudder as we see newspapers losing staff what would happen if that resource wasn’t there because it does take a lot of people to do this.”

Higgs says candidates tend to be a little more accurate in their speeches than in their ads. And political action committees with secret donors tend to be the most outrageous.

The U.S. Senate race in Ohio has attracted a record amount of money – most -attacking incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Politifact squad gave his challenger, state Treasurer Josh Mandel a “pants on fire“ rating six times. Bob Higgs says the false claims usually come in negative ads.

Maybe negative is positive 

But negative ads serve a purpose, says Richard Perloff,  a professor of communication at Cleveland State University.

“Negativity can really arouse and energize partisans.  If I see negativity against the other candidate it gets me much more energized to campaign and so it that sense negativity is good for the system.”

If it were up to professor Perloff, he’d have Mitt Romney run ads that show him as compassionate, and with his family.  For Mr.Obama, Perloff suggests ads that underscore his experience in a dangerous world – much like Ronald Reagan’s ominous “Bear in the Woods” commercial.  But he does not think the president could get away with Reagan’s optimistic “Morning in America” ad.

“You could get away with a great deal of positivity then that was kind of schmaltzy and only Reagan could do it… because he believed it.”

Perloff says political ads may not work on one’s subconscious quite as well as product ads, but he respects the skill behind them, especially as they’re now sometimes produced in just a matter of hours.

“This is what the money that the PACs and all those, this is what it’s going to.  It’s going to this kind of thing.  I think people are probably right to lament that all the money that’s going into  politics is not going to try to improve the state of our political persuasion, trying to get out the vote; it’s going into the engineering of the psychology of political advertising. “

It may be a good business, says Perloff, but if you lose the election you are out of a job.

Listener Comments:

Yes, Politifact supports the left, as does most of media. Most likely people are not interested in politics because nothing is focused on that will make a positive difference in their lives; the media picks and chooses what people are to believe, they ignore blatant insults on the left, and find fault/insults for the Republicans'. How could a radical pastor that influenced Obama for 20 years, married Obama, and baptized his daughters not be investigated? Rather Rev. Wright is excused, like this far left administration, and all the radicals Obama has appointed.
It seems the remaking of America is highly influenced by liberation theology - Wright finds racism in nearly everything, as many of Obama supporters.
Evidently Politifact, like the network media must be liberal to get the support/money needed to stay alive - many reporters must not question the liberal media any more than the viewers of network media - yes, people have to do their own homework/find alternative resources,or they will not find any substance in reporting.


Posted by: Mostly Liberal on November 4, 2012 1:11AM
Ohio Politifact has the objectivity of the Iraqi Information Minister. Everything said on the campaign trail has a subjective spin - but the subjective spin at Politifact determines whether the public perceives the politician's spin as "Mostly True" or "Pants on Fire." Ohio Politifact is staffed exclusively by left-leaning individuals who have been busted repeatedly in social media saying coarse, extreme things about Republican candidates. The business behind Politifact, the Plain Dealer, has deep ties with the left and its candidates.

Dear readers, you're going to have to do your own homework. There are no shortcuts. Anyone who tries to give you a free shortcut - e.g., Politifact - is trusting you're a horse that will drink if led to water. They wouldn't put the time in if there wasn't a benefit.


Posted by: Truth (Cleveland) on October 24, 2012 11:10AM
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