Negative Campaign Advertising

4 April 2015
A look at the use of negative campaign advertising and political and social debates around the concept.

This paper explores the concept of negative campaign advertising. The author examines how politicians make use of negative advertising, the effects of such advertising, the legal concerns of negative advertising and the moral and ethical debates around the issue.
“Since the early 1980s, negative political advertising has become the dominant strategy of most campaigns for high-visibility offices in the United States and other countries. Negative political advertising is political advertising that implicitly or explicitly places the opposition in an inferior position, providing an argument that calls his/her fitness for office or leadership ability into question. (Johnson-Cartee and Copeland, p.20). Political consultants are less than eager to admit they actively participate in negative political advertising, creatively renaming negative ads in “value-positive” euphemisms and skirting the issue. This causes the extended inference that any type of negative advertising, even that which attempts to honestly educate the voter regarding legitimate shortcomings of a political opponent is inherently “bad.” ”
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