The Mean Season

I though the nasty hits linebackers put on quarterbacks and the cheap shots hockey enforcers often apply to the opposition were about as bad as it got. Then — I became a news anchor — and started reporting on political campaigns.

While I have had some experience on covering election night events in my first job at Fox News, this is the first full campaign I have reported on as a member of the media. I have to tell you — the accusations, insults and mudslinging — it makes the cheap shots former Penguin Darius Kasparaitus would give an opponent seem like love taps.

You can see this every hour of every day — right here on WTAE. The political commercials have been rather scathing — and they are only getting worse as we near election day. Charges by opponents of candidates taking bribes, kickbacks and other illegal stuff fill the breaks during our morning broadcast. I’m not going to tell you that one spot in worse than another or that one candidate is spewing more sludge than the other, but you can tell who’s winning and who’s losing in a race just by the tone of the commercials.

Case in point, the contentious race for the Senate between Bob Casey and Rick Santorum. While both candidates have used negative advertising throughout, the negative ads from the Casey camp seem to shrinking as we near November 7th. Then again, when you are ahead by double digits in the polls, you can afford to take the high ground and tout your virtues as opposed to ridiculing your opponents vices.

I just worry about how this will affect the undecided voters out there. I’m sure there are more than few of you who have not made up their minds and want to make an informed choice. This kind of advertising doesn’t make that easier — or even possible. Voter confusion is only compounded by the attention to the latest gaffe by John Kerry. Frankly, I don’t think either side benefits when Kerry’s “botched joke” gets so much play — and not just from the media.

In a perfect worlds, I would love to see less negative advertising and more discussion of the issues that affect my world, my family and my life. I would also like to play a round at Pebble Beach with Tiger Woods and Natalie Gulbis, but that’s not going to happen either. I would just hope that somehow, some way we could have an intelligence discussion prior to an election as opposed to all this name-calling and backstabbing that makes both candidates in a race look like petulant children. Here’s to perhaps better behavior in 2008.

I can dream, can’t I?

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