Negative by Nature

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

Negative by Nature


Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Negative by nature

Turned off by the 2004 presidential campaign?

You might try turning off your television.

"If people believe campaigns are negative, it could well be due to the fact that the news coverage of political campaigns is more negative than the campaigns themselves," reveals William Benoit, a leading expert on presidential campaigns and communications professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Mr. Benoit says as President Bush and Sen. John Kerry continue crisscrossing the country, and with one convention just ended and another one week away, the "media" have an abundance of political stories to cover.

Yet his new analysis shows that not only is press coverage more negative than the candidates' actual messages, but the majority of reporting is on the "horse race" and not on the candidates' policy or character.

Monitoring affront

Ralph Nader isn't alone in the presidential contender wings - or so we now hear.

We wrote earlier this week that a group of congressmen, led by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, are outraged that the Bush administration has invited an international team of election monitors to observe the 2004 presidential election. Those lawmakers now have an ally.

"It is an affront to our sovereignty and independence as a nation to allow so-called 'international election monitors' to observe or in any way interfere with our constitutionally mandated election process," says Michael A. Peroutka, the Constitution Party candidate for president.

He says inviting members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe "to monitor our elections shows just how committed to an internationalist agenda are the candidates from the Democrat and Republican parties."

Anti-war wing

There should be plenty of excitement outside Madison Square Garden during the upcoming Republican National Convention, as New York City gears up for anti-war protests unlike any seen in the Big Apple since the 1982 March for Nuclear Disarmament.

Activists with the Tucson Radical Activist Network and Food Not Bombs (some of their members say they were tagged by the FBI in recent weeks) are planning protests and "street theater" under the direction of Tucson, Ariz., resident Keith McHenry, co-founder of the latter bunch.

In fact, he is predicting one of the largest anti-war protests ever held in the United States.

It's a party

Needless to say, people are easily bored by politics. …

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