Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Mom offers advice on negative political ads

With local TV following every nanosecond of the President's visit to Portland, and the Giants and the Phillies locked in a tight playoff game on the screen, tonight I found myself logging an inordinate amount of tube time.

It's pretty scary because in between the president and the boys of October, the screen space was papered with wall-to-wall political ads, nearly all of them mean-spirited and toxic.

The impression these negative ads leave is that no matter whom you vote for, you are playing a fool's game. The result is certain disaster. Congress will be inhabited by miserable, thieving degenerate louts — be they Republicans or Democrats.

The message: the situation is utterly hopeless.

I wonder whether anyone has ever stood back and looked at the media mud slinging and realized that the effect is to tear down our system of governance.

No wonder folks are angry. From the looks of things, they should be. The ads are almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps we deserve this. Something is seriously wrong when political mud-wrestling passes as civic discourse. And of course the media, which sell ad space at grossly inflated prices (thereby creating political dependency on big-money interests), are laughing all the way to the bank.

Ask yourself, who are the winners here?

Certainly not the public.

My Mother, bless her soul, used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." If only the politicians and their media advisers would listen to Mom's quaint advice.

As for those of us on the receiving end of this sludge, we might follow the corollary: "If you can't hear or see anything nice in the media, turn it off."

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