A positive spin on negative attacks
In a news release from Vanderbilt University’s news office, John G. Geer, author of In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns observes that Hillary Clinton’s win in New Hampshire may mean that she and her supporters direct fewer negative attacks at Barack Obama. But Geer does not necessarily see this as a good thing:
“The public would be better served if all of the remaining candidates undergo this type of scrutiny.… Many pundits view negative ads as counterproductive, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Geer said that there are many incentives for candidates in both parties to run negative ads that address legitimate issues. “Attack ads contain more substantive information than positive ads,” he said. “Therefore, they generate a dialogue that helps voters understand the respective positions of the candidates.”
In addition, attack ads toughen up the eventual nominee for the general election, when the attacks will come faster and harder. “How candidates handle the criticism will provide insight to how they might govern, since those who occupy the Oval Office are the frequent target of harsh attacks,” he said.
To find out more about Geer’s unconventional take on advertising in presidential campaings read the rest of the article on the VU news service website. You may preview a sample of the book on Google Book Search. And, turning the tables, see Geer subjected to an attack ad.