WASHINGTON: The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), an organization dedicated to improving the level of civil discourse among elected officials and the media is releasing results from its national conversation about campaign ads leading up to this week’s mid-terms http://respectorreject.com.
NICD, in partnership with the American Democracy Project, The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Common Sense Action, The Democracy Commitment, HonestAds, Pop Vox, and Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, sought to frame the conversation around civility and give the public a place to take a stand against sensational attacks of opposing candidates. According to Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, NICD’s Executive Director, “this campaign season was the worst ever in terms of negativity.”
During the course of the 2014 campaign season, an estimated $4 Billion dollars was spent to support candidates in races around the country and to produce ads which most viewers felt were “full of misinformation and lies.” Other themes which emerged included:
· negative ads only serve politicians not citizens.
· it’s too easy to be a gullible & passive viewer – citizens need to be critical thinkers.
· candidates should be held accountable for untrue information.
· ads should focus on candidates policies and not on what’s wrong with the opponent.
· being able to maintain civil discourse shows respect for voters.
· ads are too polarizing to foster civil discourse and do no respect voters.
· biased news sources contribute to an atmosphere of negative ads.
Social media played an integral role with some 320-thousand citizens joining conversations on #Election2014 and commenting on NICD’s social media platforms about ads featured on #RespectorReject as well as the current political environment in the U.S.
Clearly, citizens and voters feel strongly that negative ads and the untruths in these political ads are unacceptable and undesired but since some seventy-per cent of campaign ads take a negative approach, making more acceptable changes “will be an uphill battle.” Said Shane Christensen, NICD’s Program Director.
THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR CIVIL DISCOURSE works to support elected officials capable of working to solve the big issues facing our country. A public demand for civil discourse and a media that informs and engages. Learn more at: www.nicd.arizona.edu