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Negative ads

Posted: November 2, 2010 11:11 a.m.
Updated: November 3, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Most Kershaw County residents will breathe a sigh of relief this morning because they’ll no longer be subjected to the constant bombardment of negative political ads which have dominated the airwaves for the past couple months. The so-called political operatives who run campaigns insist negative ads are used because they’re effective. We challenge that; such commercials might have worked a few years ago, before they were used by nearly every candidate, but we’d wager that for most voters, they have lost their power.

It’s certainly OK to point out differences in philosophy or voting records, but the negative ads distort, bend, exaggerate; truth plays virtually no part in them. The grainy black-and-white images of opponents, the sinister voice-over narration of a smooth-talking announcer, the constant pricking and needling of the ads leaves most viewers frustrated. As for their effectiveness, we take a simple measure: half the candidates win and half the candidates lose, and they all run negative ads, so they can’t be working too well in all cases.

The ads mirror the lack of civility that is found across the political spectrum today. There are many candidates who are decent, trustworthy individuals who end up engaging in attack ads because their “handlers” tell them that’s what they must do. Voters are seeing through this, however, and in some cases, a backlash is occurring. That’s good and will perhaps curtail the assaults which voters have been forced to endure this campaign season and in those past.

In South Carolina, the ads have been ubiquitous in almost all statewide races, from governor on down. It’s insulting to the electorate, and we can only hope that at some point in the future, candidates will decide they’re no longer going to engage in such behavior.

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