Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Communication Scholars Speak Out About Negative Campaigning.

A group of top American communication professors have crafted and signed a statement calling on the McCain campaign to stop knowingly lying. Whilst noting that "both major campaigns have been criticized by fact-checking organizations for prevarications" they then get to the meat of their complaint:

It would be misleading, however, to imply that since “both sides do it” there is no qualitative difference worth noting.

In recent weeks, the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple.

Making decisions in a democracy requires an informed electorate. The health of our democracy and our ability to make a good decision about who should lead our nation require the very best in communication practices, not the worst.
This is what I have been saying for months now. I've seen many campaigns spin the truth to their advantage but, normally, when they are called on it they stop. They never apologise, they simply stop making the claim.

This is what has made the McCain/Palin campaign such a thing of wonder. Even when it's pointed out to them that they are lying, they simply carry on as before. I've honestly never seen this before in my life.

They are doing it on taxation, on Obama's so called "socialism" and they even continue to quote Joe the Plumber, a man who is not called Joe, is not a plumber, and who has admitted that under Obama's tax plans he would receive a tax cut.

A politician actually standing up and saying something which he knows to be a lie, whilst knowing that you know it is a lie, is actually quite rare. And yet that has been the McCain/Palin election campaign. And it's so blatant that American communication professors are calling it an affront to democracy as it affects the truth needed for the electorate to make an informed choice.

I've never seen that before.

Hat tip to Truthdig.

Click title for source.

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