Fowler: Attack Ads Up Because They’re Effective

In a piece by Roger Simon in The Chicago Sun Times, Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, director of the Wesleyan Media Project, says the reason more than 50 percent of the T.V. ads run by candidates this election cycle were so-called attack ads is simple: politicians believe they work. The article goes on to discuss this and warns readers that 2012 will bring even more.

ABC News also had a similar story citing the Wesleyan Media Project.

Lim: Constitution Guarantees No or Slow Change

In an opinion piece for The Boston Globe, Elvin Lim, assistant professor of government, writes that despite two consecutive elections predicated on rhetoric of “change,” the constructs of the U.S. Constitution make rapid change very difficult, a design the Founders depended on to ensure stability and prevent radicalism. The newsmedia and others may call the result of this ‘gridlock’ in the coming weeks, but that situation was seen as a reasoned way to ”to lock into place our collective decisions when they were derived by ‘choice and deliberation,’ and not by ‘force and accident.’”

Swinehart Reviews ‘First Family’ by Joseph Ellis

In a piece for The Chicago Tribune, Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, reviews First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph Ellis. The book chronicles the two intertwining lives through the more than 1,100 letters they wrote to each other. The couple’s deep and enduring love is explored from its outset, along with their family life, the events leading up to and beyond the American Revolution, as well as Adams’ presidency. Swinhart says that “with ‘First Family,’ Ellis brings to seven the number of deep excursions he has had made into founders’ land. And, once again, he has returned bearing gifts.”

Basinger Featured in History of Film Documentary

A recent article in The Kansas City Star discussed “Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood,” a seven-hour documentary series that starts on Nov. 1 on the TCM network, and that features commentary by Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies. The documentary will examine the birth, growth and influence of the film industry. Basigner is one of a very few notable commentators who are featured during the documentary. The seven-episode series will run through December.

Fowler: Even Negative Campaign Ads Inform Public

In an OpEd for The Hartford Courant, Erika Fowler, assistant professor of government, director of The Wesleyan Media Project, discussed this year’s campaign ad trends, including negative ads. Fowler says that negative ads are up this year, but that can be a positive for the electorate’s information acquisition. Even though negative ads are often lamented by candidates and the news media, they often provide more substantial information regarding candidates’ beliefs, records and policies than so-called positive ads. This is especially so with comparative ads.

The Wesleyan Media Project was also cited in stories run by The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ABC News, The Los Angeles Times during the last few days.

Lim: Tea Party’s Rise Echoes Obama’s ’08 Campaign

Writing for Forbes, Trevor Butterworth cites Elvin Lim’s book The AntiIntellectual Presidency as one of the most insightful books on presidential oratory and its role in politics, and Lim’s blog as a font of edifying political commentary. Butterworth is particularly interested in a recent blog entry by Lim which draw parallels between the rise of the Tea Party and the rise of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“His latest post points to the horror that much of the yellow dog Democrat pundit class want to avoid thinking about – and no, it’s not simply the impending electoral drubbing: it’s that the Tea Party is a rhetorical phenomenon not unlike the Obama campaign, with its own brand of hope that people can believe in: change.”

Lim goes on to say that this message saddles the Tea Party with the same risk as the candidate-turned-President: they will now have to deliver on that promise, and quickly given the increasingly short patience of the electorate.

Roth OpEd: This is the Cynical Season in Politics

In an opinion piece for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that this may be one of the most cynical election cycles ever, a mood abetted by the recent Supreme Court ‘Citizen’s United’ case that allows for more special interest group advertising. But while cynics are ‘no fools,’ cynicism in general does not lend itself well to positive change or progress. It also can lead to withdrawal from the political process.

Fowler: Negative Image of N.Y.C. in Poltical Ads Up

In a  The New York Times article, Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, director of The Wesleyan Media Project, discussed the repetitive vilification of Wall Street, ‘New York City Bankers’ and even New York City in campaign ads for both Democrats and Republicans during this election season. The Wesleyan Media Project was also cited as a source for data on these ads.

In separate stories in USA Today and for The Associated Press Fowler comments, respectively, on political advertising trends in Gubernatorial races nationwide, and on Linda McMahon’s extensive, self-financed campaign spending in Connecticut’s governor’s race in particular. The Wesleyan Media Project is also cited in both piece.