The Art of Going Negative

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Ben Cohen
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The NYTimes looks at the emerging art of using old videos to go negative:

It is the attack-ad technique of choice for the 2012 election: anything you have said or done on film will be held against you. And its prevalence has helped make the Republican primary campaign a ferociously negative contest. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Iowa, where commercials that portray candidates in an unflattering light now account for two-thirds of the money spent on advertising for the caucuses....

Mitt Romney employs a small team of video- and film-savvy staff members who produce ads from three editing suites at the campaign’s headquarters in Boston’s North End. Their recent productions include one 30-second Web video that shows Mr. Gingrich telling the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2010 that “Governor Romney, in his business career, created more jobs than the entire Obama cabinet combined.” Another, titled “Newt and Nancy,” ends with the words, “With friends like Newt, who needs The Left” splashed on the screen.

Footage of political candidates online is increasing exponentially thanks to youtube uploaders, meaning 2012 promises to be an extremely entertaining one when it comes to the art of smearing. It is virtually cost free to edit effective videos, so we're going to see a lot of them. And given the nature of viral videos (ie. short and shocking) they are unlikely to do much to improve the national dialogue, meaning incredibly, political discourse in America is about to get more stupid.

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