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Posts Tagged ‘television’

More ads and more negativity: Political advertising trends in 2010

There sure seemed to be a lot of political ads on TV last summer and fall. Based on my unscientific observation as a political news junkie, stark black and white images and ominous voices declared every few minutes that so-and-so was unfit to be a dogcatcher or any other public official. An overview of political advertising in 2010 has confirmed those suspicions.

Screenshot of a 2010 ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee

Screenshot of a 2010 ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee

Travis N. Ridout,an associate professor of political science at Washington State University and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, writes in the political science journal The Forum that campaign and political advertising picked up in 2010. Or,  if you consider the increase in negative ads, it sank deeper.

From the paper’s abstract:

Political advertising offers an important window on American campaigns and elections. We analyze a comprehensive database of political ads aired during the 2010 midterms to shed light on campaign strategies in this history-making election. We find that with the increase in competitive races in 2010, the volume of advertising rose too, as did its negativity. Moreover, we track the issues mentioned by each party, finding that while the parties agreed that employment was the top issue, there was also much divergence in issue priorities, with Republicans taking up some unlikely themes such as health care and “change.” The high volume of advertising in 2010 suggests a greater potential for voter learning, but the high levels of ad negativity could have had both positive and negative consequences on the electorate.

Ridout co-authored the paper with Erika Franklin Fowler of Wesleyan University. You can read more about Ridout’s work in “Civility in Politics and Campaigns,” winter 2010 issue of Washington State Magazine.


Advertising Trends in 2010 (The Forum, Vol. 8, Issue 4. Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011. PDF)

The Wesleyan Media Project

WSU teacher helps investigate historical mysteries

Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley, and Buddy Levy. Eric Ogden

Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley, and Buddy Levy. by Eric Ogden

Tune in to the History Channel Thursday evening for the first episode of Decoded, which features a team of historical investigators including WSU faculty member Buddy Levy.

A ten-part series, Decoded will examine persistent historical questions, such as whether Meriwether Lewis really committed suicide and the location of the lost Confederate treasury.  With mechanical engineer Christine McKinley and lawyer Scott Rolle, Levy is sent out by history enthusiast and best-selling author Brad Meltzer to track down answers to the questions uncovered in the course of his research.

Levy is a clinical associate professor in the English department, teaching writing and literature.  He is also the author of Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs (Bantam Dell 2007) and American Legend: the Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett (Putnam 2005).  A forthcoming history, River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon (Bantam Dell) is due for release in early 2010.

As a freelance journalist, Levy has covered adventure sports around the world and is a frequent contributor to a number of magazines.

Decoded premieres December 2 at 10 p.m. on History.

The Daily Evergreen ran a story on Dec. 1 about the show, including some interviews with Levy’s students.

UPDATE: The New York Times also has a good article about the show, “Searching for Clues in History’s Nooks.”

Watch the trailer: