The case against political attack ads

A recent op-ed column in the Star argued in favour of political attack ads ( Along with many other readers, I offer a response here( and below: I note the considerable irony in the author’s effort to defend negative, political attack ads on the basis that such ads contribute to meaningful public debate. As he himself notes, attack ads “focus on negativity, they put candidates in a bad light and they usually manipulate the primal emotions of hate and fear.” Highlighting the perceived shortcomings of one “positive” television commercial is not a serious argument for supporting the proliferation of negative ones. It is simply a distraction from the damaging democratic consequences of political attack ads, and the decline in civility of the public discourse in general: voter cynicism and citizen apathy. I agree with the author that political ads should be informative, but they need not do a long term disservice to our country. Christopher Holcroft, Founder, Civil Election, Toronto

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