Monday, May 31, 2004

The Bush/Cheney propaganda machine is getting desperate, resorting to attacks 'unprecedented' in their negative, misleading tone toward Kerry. According to an article in the Washington Post, the amount of negative ads directed toward Kerry by the Bush campaign has been described by "scholars and political strategists" as "extraordinary, both for the volume of attacks and for the liberties the president and his campaign have taken with the facts." Furthermore, "Though stretching the truth is hardly new in a political campaign, they say the volume of negative charges is unprecedented -- both in speeches and in advertising." In fact, "Three-quarters of the ads aired by Bush's campaign have been attacks on Kerry. Bush so far has aired 49,050 negative ads in the top 100 markets, or 75 percent of his advertising. Kerry has run 13,336 negative ads -- or 27 percent of his total. The figures were compiled by The Washington Post using data from the Campaign Media Analysis Group of the top 100 U.S. markets. Both campaigns said the figures are accurate." For instance, the Bush campaign has accused Kerry of criticizing the validity of the War on Terrorism, wanting to do away with wiretaps on suspected terrorists, wanting to raise the gasoline tax, and 'flip-flopping' on changes in the education system, although he "did not question the war on terrorism, has proposed repealing tax cuts only for those earning more than $200,000, supports wiretaps, has not endorsed a 50-cent gasoline tax increase in 10 years, and continues to support the education changes, albeit with modifications." To see the Bush attack machine as it begins to run on empty, consider the following:

"In early March, Bush charged that Kerry had proposed a $1.5 billion cut in the intelligence budget that would 'gut the intelligence services.' Kerry did propose such a cut in 1995, but it amounted to about 1 percent of the overall intelligence budget and was smaller than the $3.8 billion cut the Republican-led Congress approved for the same program Kerry was targeting. ... On March 11, the Bush team released a spot saying that in his first 100 days in office Kerry would 'raise taxes by at least $900 billion.' Kerry has said no such thing; the number was developed by the Bush campaign's calculations of Kerry's proposals. On March 30, the Bush team released an ad noting that Kerry 'supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax' and saying, 'If Kerry's tax increase were law, the average family would pay $657 more a year.' But Kerry opposes an increase in the gasoline tax. The ad is based on a 10-year-old newspaper quotation of Kerry but implies that the proposal is current."

According to Darrell West, professor at Brown University, "Bush's level of negative advertising is already higher than the levels reached in the 2000, 1996 and 1992 campaigns." In addition, due to the unparalleled earliness (?) of the attack ads in a presidential election year, West -- "author of a book on political advertising" -- believes that 2004 will be "'the most negative campaign ever,' eclipsing 1988," in which Bush the Elder attacked Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis for his patriotism (not surprisingly, Bush Jr. and Karl Rove are using practically the same attack formula on Kerry).

Whatever your political beliefs may be, it looks pretty clear that 2004 will be an election year that might be one of the most important in our nation's history.

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