Sunday, November 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Voters share blame for negative campaigns

By
From page A13 | November 07, 2012 |

America’s Great Electoral Marathon of 2012 ended with the venerated vox populi – the voice of the people – reverberating louder and clearer than ever: “Please lie to me!”

Candidates discovered this year that they’d pay no penalty for campaign lies, distortions and deceptions. Because that’s what people want to hear – as long as it’s about politicians we love to hate. Too many of us prefer to get what we call news from blogs, tweets and cable news channels that pander to partisans to get ratings.

Campaign 2012 just set a new record for campaign ad negativity. Lies abound. Distortion is the norm; deception an art form. Accuracy is as rare as a found artifact. According to a Wesleyan Media Project study, 86 percent of President Barack Obama’s ads and 79 percent of Mitt Romney’s ads were negative. (That’s a big increase from 2008, when Obama and John McCain spent 69 percent of their ad budgets on negative ads; and 2004, when George W. Bush and John Kerry spent 58 percent on negative ads.)

So there are multiple lessons we must learn about the shortcomings and failures of all the players: the politicos, the journalists who cover them, and the people (see also: voters) who encourage and even implore candidates to do what we used to deplore.

First, let’s review the lowlights of the campaign’s biggest whoppers, distortions and deceptions.

Especially, the Republican demonization of “Obamacare”: This carefully conceived deceit began when conservative schemers successfully conned frustrated and easily manipulated folks who flocked to tea party rallies by denouncing as liberal the mandate that all must buy health insurance.

But the media glossed over this truth: The health care mandate was an idea incubated in the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in the Clinton years as a Republican alternative to the liberal’s desire for a single-payer government program. Conservative Republicans embraced it. Romney used it for his Massachusetts health plan.

Obama, who had opposed the mandate, reluctantly accepted it to appeal to Republicans – it was the only way even Romney could assure that no one could be rejected for a pre-existing condition. Then, like a precision drill team, congressional Republicans unanimously about-faced and attacked Obama’s mandate as a liberal evil. Their audiences cheered, ignorant of the fact that their conservative heroes had championed the mandate. They just loved to hate anything tied to Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Democratic ad makers did their own distorting as they cherry-picked hundreds of transactions by Romney’s Bain Capital private equity company. Democrats magnified outcomes that closed plants and cut jobs. They of course ignored those that created famous companies, such as Staples, The Sports Authority and Burger King.

Campaign 2012 ended with a national security controversy in which Team Romney didn’t have to take the lead, because Fox News Channel was on the case. Famous for sometimes mixing right-wing invective with its journalism, Fox raised valid questions about the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in an attack on the consulate at Benghazi. And the White House failed to put out facts promptly about what it knew and why Obama and others asserted it might have started as a protest about an anti-Muslim video that spun out of control. Republicans pounced and denounced.

But lost in that was that for days after the attack, Obama’s daily CIA intelligence briefers had told him it could have begun as a protest – but it turned out there wasn’t one at the consulate. Republicans kept blasting Obama and never criticized the official responsible for that intelligence: their longtime hero, CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus.

Then Fox aired what appeared to be a big scoop: that when the attack began, CIA agents nearby requested permission to try to save the ambassador but were ordered to stand down. Republicans rushed to blast Obama. The Fox scoop had a big hole in it: The CIA explained it told its team to wait – just 20 minutes – to coordinate with a Libyan militia patrolling the consulate. Soon CIA agents were on their way. Sadly, the effort failed.

It is easy to now read all this and denounce those who are way too eager to hate those on the other side. We like to say we aren’t like that. But wait: How often have you passed along gleefully an emailed Internet political accusation filled with invective and based on distortion or a downright lie?

And when was the last time your newspaper or television news made clear in a page one headline or prime-time TV report that a candidate’s TV ad seen by millions was a blatant distortion?

Candidates will never stop lying, distorting or deceiving until we all do our jobs – and make sure they pay a penalty when they try to con their way to victory.

Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. Email martin.schram@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suicide prevention day event comes to Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Market prime for correction? Maybe yes, maybe no

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

City: Quarter-toting ‘Robin Hooders’ must back off

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Are we sheltered by broadcast news?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A8

 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics