Fiction in advertising
Oct. 19, 2003
Political candidates dominate the airwaves in the final stages of a campaign, but we voters have a right to expect more truth in their advertising. For example, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's latest television spot hammering Republican Haley Barbour crosses the fine line between political spin and outright fiction.
It is ludicrous to suggest that Barbour's lobbying firm in Washington D.C. worked to let Mexico "steal" Mississippi jobs or "poison our children." Musgrove has latched into NAFTA a federal law passed during the Clinton administration in 1993 which Musgrove did nothing to oppose then as the holy grail that will salvage his re-election effort. The same ad says Barbour fought against clean water standards.
During Musgrove's term, a higher percentage of manufacturing jobs have left Mississippi than any other state. Official records show that 37,000 fewer Mississippians are working today than when Musgrove took office. That's the record from which he is running away and it is a deception to blame the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Musgrove is an expert in the art of the political smear, but this one really taints a campaign that may be getting away from him as he tries to skate clear of his own record. The ad should be pulled off the air because it's an insult to voters' intelligence. But we predict he'll let it run.
Writing fiction is a universally accepted method some might even say an art used by novelists and aspiring novelists to tell a story. The difference is that no one pretends that the story is true.
Neither is Musgrove's ad and voters should hold him accountable.