Friday, October 22, 2010

ACCENTUATE the Positive by the Most Sensitive Man in Bexley.

Accentuate the Positive by the Most Sensitive Man in Bexley, Simon Doer

The 1944 election year pitted Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt against Republican Thomas Dewey in the campaign for President. While accusing Republicans of fraud in their attempts to claim credit for social gains of the New Deal, he also ridiculed Republican claims that his administration was corrupt and wasteful with tax money. He pointedly challenged a claim that he sent a US Navy ship to pick up his dog Fala, a terrier, in Alaska, noting that "Fala was furious" at the rumor. Meanwhile Dewey accused Roosevelt of being "indispensable" to corrupt big city Democratic organizations and American Communists. During that same year Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to Accentuate the Positive, a song with the refrain:

“You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between”
Those earlier lyrics may still hold guidance for election campaigns during 2010.

As you consider those lyrics from an earlier time, are you frustrated by what appears to be a current election campaign dominated by negative information about opponents rather than positive information promoting what each candidate would bring to the office they seek?

When I look for campaign literature or information accentuating candidates’ positive qualities, experience and strategies candidates propose to bring to the issues impacting the offices to which they seek to be elected this year, I find the mail, television, radio and internet bring a proliferation of negative information on the opposing candidates. Bad hair day or expression photos of the opposing candidates that even driver license or school photo providers would discard are usually the norm on these flyers and advertisements.

Many of the pieces opposing particular candidates hide behind broadly labeled groups or parties with no attribution to the candidates contesting the election.

Does what appears to be a trend to negatively focus on the opposing candidate run afoul of common sense and long standing marketing and public relations tactics? The show business cliché is that “It doesn't matter what they say as long as they spell your name right." Plus what happened to the political maxim “never give a political opponent free publicity?” That maxim has been used effectively by political frontrunners to ignore their opponents, never referring to them by name, but perhaps by political party alone, to avoid giving the opponent free exposure.

When so much negativism is awash in the political media do voters connect it to particular candidates? Ohio voters have a history of electing certain surnames, sometimes regardless of political party or political stances, based on the political familiarity of names (Brown, for example). Perhaps this is a jaundiced view, however, particularly when it comes to lesser known political races voters may make their entries on the ballot based on “I’ve heard that name,” likely not connecting a positive or negative association (and conversely “I haven’t heard anything about the other candidate or candidates.”)

There are many scholarly research articles on the effectiveness of negative political attacks on opposing candidates. Some of these studies, available through an internet search, make fascinating reading addressing the impact analysis of negative political advertisements. Sadly the results suggest that negative campaign approaches can be effective with certain targeted groups of voters.

Perhaps the question we should ask the issuers of negative campaign materials and the candidates that stand behind them who state, “I have approved this message,” is despite whether or not the materials are effective, are they ethical? Do they reflect an effort to bring to light a very real concern or are they simply presenting a litany of opponent’s quotes through cleverly crafted catchphrases to place their opponent in a bad light?

So, tell us as voters what you bring to the office, not what your opponent fails to offer.

That is one sensitive man’s opinion. What is yours?


Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation or WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2010. All rights reserved. MSMIB Most Sensitive Man in Bexley.

No comments: