Misperceptions About 2012 Attack Ads

By Steve Benen, Maddow Blog - June 4, 2012

Several major media figures have already complained about the tone of the 2012 presidential race, with much of the criticism directed at President Obama's re-election campaign. For example, Karl Rove, without acknowledging the irony, has frequently condemned Team Obama for relying on "fear"-based attack ads.

Among more mainstream media figures, CBS News' Bob Schieffer has been especially critical, complaining to Robert Gibbs last week, and doing so again with David Axelrod yesterday.

Perhaps now would be a good time for a quick reality check. Josh Green cited research from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, which found that 63,793 presidential campaign ads have been broadcast since the start of the general election campaign on April 10. As Green noted, the data uncovered a noteworthy trend: "Democrats are running a largely positive campaign, while Republicans are running a mostly negative one."

As is my wont, I put together a chart on the available data:

Maddow Blog chart based on data from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group

Which side of the aisle is running more attack ads? At this point in the process, there doesn't appear to be much of a contest.

Green added, "So why, if Obama is running overwhelmingly positive ads, does the media coverage leave the impression that the campaign has been overwhelmingly negative? Axelrod provided a clue. He said that the positive ads have been running mostly in the battleground states -- where national media bigwigs like Bob Schieffer don't see them."

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Because, when you disagree with the GOP (and its empty suit), you're being Negative. On the other hand, if you don't like that black guy (well, because he's black and Keyan, Muslim, Socialist, Terror-Madrassa-schooled), you're being nothing but fair and balanced like the Fox News channel! Bob Schieffer doesn't see statistics because he is a "reporter" for a Corporation.

It's already been explained on Maddow's show. The GOP has a history of doing this exact thing. They will do something, in this instance run negative ads, then blame the Dems of doing it before they can get blamed. It's a trick they've been using forever, and for some reason the media has fallen for it every time.

The fact that multi-millionaire corporate spokesman Bob Schieffer's personal ties to Republican big wigs are deep, of long standing and well known probably doesn't have much to do with his position.

Ron; you can lather and repeat for any of those Multimillionaire news readers on teevee. They are employed by large corporations who are interested only in ratings so they can sell pharmaceuticals and corn chips at a premium ad rates. They know to which side of the bread the butter is applied and thus it is easy to predict whose team they are on.

Plus they need a horse race to keep it going . Seriously , after the primary campaign he ran Willard is EVEN with Obama? The fix is in.

Tony, the media falls for it because everytime because they are paid to fall for it. Hell if they didn't they would be fired. Imagine media figures having to look for work. It is too sad to contemplate.

Do'nt most American's name their kid's Carl with a C and not Karl with a K? Karl with a K was the name of many Nazi's that worked for the Hitler campaign in the 30's. Not a pretty thing to say but if Rove were on the other side,that's what Foxnot News and people like Glen Beck would be saying.

Please send your chart to Mr. Schieffer and ask for a response. Just as Newt has been on Meet the Press more than any other person, hasn't John McCain been on Face the Nation more? His proclivity for Republican guests is known, as well as Gregory's, really ought to belie their claim of liberal bias in MSM. Reporting that Dems put out more negative ads is not the same as showing, proving, not just saying a talking point that is clearly a projection. A 20-second ad showing this would be a public service announcement for the nation to increase critical thinking skills for sure. We'll wait to see of Schieffer responds and the nature of it.

The media has a vested interest in the perception of a close election and that they are relevant both to boost viewership and advertising. If the election is deemed close by them more needs to be spent running the ads they will later critique. Keep uppermost in mind that the "news" is a profit center. It then makes much more sense.


Lazy reporting and a lack of research by the folks on the mainstream networks and the Sunday "news" (read, "spin") shows. Wow! Color me surprised.

How DO these people make so much money for doing so little actual thinking? There are kids on high school newspapers who do better investigative journalism than these bubbleheads.

Trump was on Hannity's show last week (I don't usually listen to the radio, and if I have a short trip where I don't listen to music I scan sports talk, NPR or conservative stations to see what's going on) I only heard a few seconds, but they were talking about Obama going after Romney.

Trump said he's been running "savage, SAVAGE ads" and that it's only going to get worse!"

Maybe I don't see negative Romney ads, I'm in a very red state... but I scrunched my face at the radio, as I usually do when conservatives talk and said out loud: "what? retelling his Bain history is savage? What are you talking about?!"

Has there been any actual attack ads, or just telling us about Romney sucking? I haven't seen any ad that predicts Romney will be bad or do bad things, like the GOP ran against itself in the primaries...

You've got to love both the GOP and the lame-stream corporate owned media for continually perpetrating those false equivalences on the American public as "objective"! Ha!

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