The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Political Attack Ads are Nothing New, Bucks Professor Says

Photo courtesy Unsplash

With the election coming up this November, political attack ads are on the rise.

These attack ads highlight flaws in an opponent’s political platform, which is made to persuade their audience. You see them everywhere, when you turn on the TV, when you go on your phone.There is no escaping them & these attacks are nothing new.

Arts and Communication Studies Professor Shawn Queeney from Bucks County Community College says “he’s fascinated & confused by these attacks & whether they manage to perform their persuasive outcome.”

Discussing the purpose of these attacks, Queeney mentioned how Bill Clinton described politics as a “full contact sport,” and that people are going to get rough. Queeney states how it could maybe be a part of “tradition & American culture, it’s competitive.” He expressed how it’s just the nature of politics & how people might complain about the arguments but deep down they expect it & possibly enjoy it.

Although this content is everywhere, that doesn’t mean everyone who views these ads pay attention to it or cares. In fact, “the way the world consumes media is to do everything we can avoid ads,” said Queeney. Their target is more so for politically minded people that are undecided of their opponent” according to Queeney.

As someone who teaches people people how to think critically, he feels it’s difficult for people to be critical & mindful when it comes to media because it’s easy to be mindless & not think too much about it.

There could potentially be another form of persuading people without the attack ads. Degrading another candidate only shows you the negative side of the other opponent but doesn’t value the positive side of the one running against them.

“With the size of this country, it would be challenging to get all messages across without them,” Queeney remarked. Therefore, it’s not necessarily about the complete truth regarding the candidates or if they performed the correct job, it’s more so on how many people they can get to view them.

Queeney said he’d “love to see what the data looks like in terms of getting people to vote, ” but unlike normal advertisements, these attack ads don’t have measures. That leads to the question of why they are putting so much effort & money into these strategies.

Queeney admitted “it is a challenge to figure out what these ads portray or the idea of them, it’s not exactly cared & improved ads but more so a win or take all system, it’s just what politics comes with. There are more ways to persuade without the ads, but it’s easier for the ads because that’s what is “embedded into our culture.”

Queeney said ads should focus on is “education,”  that they should include more “policies & problems” rather than just criticizing opponents.

Queeney said “the attack ads are more towards creating the persuasion of “sense of fear, sense of uncertainty, sense of doubt & persuasion ethically. These political attack ads are more geared at that emotionally gut level, they are geared about fear.”