Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mudslinging: And I’m Not Just Talking Politics

Well, what else is new?  If there’s a political campaign going on, you’re going to hear tons of negative publicity.  Things like:

  • advertisements attacking an opponent's personality, record, or opinion;
  • secretly leaking damaging (not necessarily true) information to the media;
  • using outside groups to launch attacks about the other opponent ; and
  • disguising telephone polls as a way of suggesting false information about the other candidate.

Despite the possibility of backlash from such techniques, negative campaigning is so affective that it is still done today. Why?  Because it works.  Juicy negative headlines work because we as the public are drawn to them and let them sway us.

Unfortunately, mudslinging doesn’t just happen in the political arena.  Over the years, I’ve been a part of many business organizations, groups and clubs and no matter what size, there always tends to be some type of negative attacks.  In today’s high-speed information highway, these attacks can quickly get out of hand.

Recently, I logged onto Goggle and saw their blackened-out name protesting censorship.  I don’t like censorship so I immediately posted something similar on Facebook.  Then I caught a link about the opposing side which related to piracy.  Well as a writer, I’m against piracy too.  Without finding out the facts, I’d just reacted.  I didn’t take the time to research the issues and make a proper decision.  It’s too easy to make these rash decisions when all we have to do is click.

In another situation, I had a person attack me openly on the internet without so much as contacting me and checking the facts.  Several other people who weren’t even involved or present when the incident took place, jumped on the bandwagon and also attacked me without learning the facts.  Why are we so easily swayed to attack and ask questions later? Haven’t we progressed over the centuries from “shoot and ask questions later?"

As responsible internet users, we need to research the facts and stop and think of the ramifications before we post.  We need to think about the consequences of what we say and who we might hurt. 

I know that I don’t respect what has taken place in this year’s political mudslinging.  I still think there ought to be an option on the ballot for “none of the above.”  This country is in serious trouble, and I for one want to hear what the candidates are going to do about the issues.  The same is true for the other organizations I’m a part of.  Accusations, name-calling and unprofessionalism do not solve a thing; they distract.

Think before you click.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Comedy, Suspense…and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com

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  1. Hi Cindy - thanks for the political comments as I love politics and enjoy following it - even the mudslinging although I get tired of it at times. I am not of the mind that there are no good candidates but that's something that is individual so no point in debating who I am for. I do believe coming from 'something is wrong' with anything in life does not produce results. As adults we tend to look at many things from a 'problem' or 'fix it' point of view and historically it has given us humans over hundreds of thousands of years exactly what we have in the world today. I am of the belief that creating powerful dialogues 'for' something - creating worlds that work are what's needed, examples being MLK, Gandhi and even Reagan (although I am not a fan). Finding the capacity in each of us to create life working in our speaking is going to take something from us humans but it can be done. Thanks for the column outside the normal fiction discussion.

  2. Yes, I knew piracy was involved in the controversy, so I simply stayed out of it. This doesn't mean I don't have an opinion, I just kept it to myself.

    But as sure as any human draws breath, there is mudslinging. Always pays to carry a bar of soap. :)

  3. Reading this the thing that comes to mind is from my childhood, which was in the dark ages. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

  4. So true, Gail.
    My mother used to say:
    "Keep your words soft and sweet,
    You'll never know from day to day
    which ones you'll have to eat."

  5. I whole-heartedly agree, Cindy. A few years back in Bedford, IN a race for major was refreshing when one candidate said it has been a clean race, no mudslinging. Boy, that was nice. I'm really turned off by mudslinging. I'm sorry to hear somebody came after you. I've seen that before on cyber space too. Good post.


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