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October 20, 2008


Brad Jacobson

Mitchell: Obama '90 Percent' Ad 'Remarkably Negative'


I think part of the problem is the focus on 'negativity,' rather than falsehood. There is nothing wrong with negative ads, as long as the content of them is actually, verifiably true. The problem is not negativity; it's bullshit. And McCain is covered in it.


I remember watching this and thinking WTF?

McCain did the same thing in the debate, hitting Obama about negative ads, but then listing Obama ads that attack McCain's policy issues.

Wait, policy...that's fair game right? It's the negative personal attacks that make McCain's campaign feel so slimy.


What we need here is a new word to distinguish between negative ads based on policy and negative ads based on personal attacks.

There was once a time when negative ads were mostly viewed as personal attacks but the new idea of "balance" in the media is to hammer square pegs into round holes and now "negative ad" means any kind of challenge to a rivals record or background.


It is a negative ad and it is mean spirited and belittles the intelligence of all of us. Is it as negative as calling Obama a terrorist? Flatly no.

Is it smarmy, smug and off-putting? Yes. I already voted for Obama. It would take a lot more than this negativity to make me change my mind. I live in Ohio and I'm frankly tired of both sides acting childish. What's the solution? I don't know, other than turning off the television. Before we ride off on our high horse, I think it's only fair to say that Obama is putting out negative ads. What choice does he have? I don't know.

Tom Paine

But! they (the MSM) have to be balanced, even if the equivalency is false. Not!

The Heretik

Nice job. You are linked.


What make the Obama ad negative?

McCain proudly stated what Obama says that he said. He voted with Bush over 90% of the time.

Where's the negativity in showing voters that McCain agrees with the despised Bush?


This is typical MSM false equivalency bullshit. They're always gutless about making qualitative judgments, even when the issue is clear. "Negative" doesn't really matter so much; "inaccurate" does. Obama's ad is negative, but accurate, and a fair and important critique of McCain. The same is not true of McCain's ads on Ayers and Obama votes on abortion and education about sexual predators, all of which use highly deceptive smears.

robert dagg murphy

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be andrea Mitchell.

Pamela More

I couldn't agree more. Mitchell drives me crazy. Your example is an excellent one, and her and Gregory's and Matthew's false equivalency of the negative ads is particularly galling in general. On Oct 14, Mitchell said, at 1:31 pm (eastern), of Sarah Palin, "She is the best speaker of the four on either ticket". A direct quote, I wrote it down. THE BEST SPEAKER? Obama had 200,000 in Berlin, 80,000 in Denver, 100,000 in STL (biggest U.S. political event ever), and PALIN is the best speaker? My head was exploding. I have written to NBC regarding the obvious right-wing turn of MSNBC since Russert died. Wasn't a bit surprised when I read (NYT I think?)that Brokaw, who seems to be calling the shots, is a McCain friend and they talk frequently.
(Just found my way here from The Nation, appreciate the thoughtful commentary.)

Pamela More

I have a question. Despite extensive searching, I cannot find a single e-mail address to any show at MSNBC now except Rachel Maddow; am I missing something, or, as I suspect, have they designed it deliberately that way? All the content on the pages of the other shows is "push" content, i.e. set up for them to push stuff at us. No feedback mechanism of any kind that I can find. I sent an e-mail to MSNBC in general complaining about this and saying I would no longer watch Gregory because of it (too frustrating not to be able to complain). I of course received no reply. Maddow never says anything lunatic, so aside from driving over there (once so far) with a printed comment (I live fairly close), I don't know of any way to protest the routine inanity. I give CNN a lot of credit, they have an e-mail for every show, at least the major ones. I am watching it more and more.


Of course, there is an equivalency if you consider the following analogy valid -

Obama ad: McCain ad :: Bill Ayers: George Bush

Perhaps Andrea has a point?


(whups - got the analogy backward. YKWIM.)


The lack of facts coming from the MSM where John McCain is concerned should once and for all lay the term "liberal media" to rest. In past elections, negative ads were defined as those which untruthfully smeared a candidate or which intentionally distorted the views of an opponent. It is apparent that the media, in keeping with its long-time, adoring love affair with "straight talking" McCain has redefined "negative" to include any ad which might hurt McCain, no matter how factual the ad might be. Mitchell's attempt to equate the two ads in question is just one example of how the media has worked to plant the suggestion that there is no discernible difference in the integrity of the two campaigns. A media which ignores Keating and Liddy while hammering on Ayers; which questions Obama's moral values while ignoring McCain's adulterous past or Palin's proven abuse of power; which tingles with delight at the prospect of again bringing Reverend Wright into the discussion while ignoring Palin's blessing by a voodoo minister and McCain's total avoidance of any discussion of his faith; which equates lies about Obama with the truth about McCain, has no integrity.


Exactly,Lauria. Well put.

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