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Trying not to be too negative

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

I find sometimes I can be pretty negative about things, how about you?

Gas prices and bank profits immediately come to mind. Climate change and politicians are a close second.

I think there are a number of things that have influenced my negative thinking. One of the most disturbing for me right now – in my old age- is negative political advertising.

There are a number of techniques used in negative campaigning. Among the most effective is running advertisements attacking an opponent’s personality, record, or opinion.

I can recall a time before the rise of negative TV campaigning. According to my research, Lyndon B. Johnson ran one of the most controversial ads in political advertising history.

Entitled “The Daisy Girl,” it showed a young girl playing “he loves me, he loves me not,” and when she plucked the last petal, a voice counted down to a nuclear explosion. The tagline, “Because the stakes are too high for you to stay at home,” is believed to have sealed Johnson’s victory over opponent Barry Goldwater.

In the decades that followed, and up to the present day, political campaigns have become increasingly negative. And even though voters claim not to like attack ads, statistics show for the most part, these ads are effective, yet I am sick of them three months before our federal election.

Not to be negative but if you know me, you know that I am not a fan of Doug Ford and I also see Donald Trump’s actions and tweets as coming more from how a spoiled child might react.

I feel it only fair that you know where I’m coming from but I’m opposed to the recent TV ads putting down Andrew Scheer because Doug Ford possibly might influence him. To be fair these ads are not put out by the Liberals or NDP but from a group calling itself “Engage Canada.”

It’s next to impossible to know where, exactly, the money to fund the group’s TV, radio and social media ads is coming from. Engage Canada told CTV News it is “funded entirely by donations, large and small, from individual Canadians, organizations, and groups across the country…including labour unions.”

Not to be outdone, there is a conservative political advocacy group that claims it was instrumental in taking down the Kathleen Wynne-led Liberals in Ontario and now is going national, aiming to do to the same to Justin Trudeau. That group is “Canada Proud”.

Jeff Ballingall, a digitally savvy former Harper-era Conservative staffer and erstwhile employee of the short-lived Sun News Network founded Ontario Proud – the forerunner of Canada Proud.

It unabashedly promoted Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in last spring’s Ontario election, using social media to create viral videos and Facebook posts that mercilessly mocked Wynne before shifting to attack the NDP once polls showed the premier’s party diminishing.

Ontario Proud’s Facebook content was viewed almost 67 million times – more interactions than the Facebook pages of the three main parties, their leaders, the unions and all other political advocacy groups “combined.”

Contributions to Canada Proud come mostly from corporations, particularly from builders, real estate interests, and developers.

I have already shared my biases, so here is a recent Facebook posting I rather enjoyed. Although negative itself, it puts down opposition negative advertising.

Meet Andrew Scheer: He spends four tweets bitching about Trudeau re: China only to end with “Canada needs a strong new approach.” Of course Andy does not tell us what that “strong new approach” looks like… because he’s “No Plan Andy.”  Andy knows that unless the U.S. drops its extradition request for [Huawei executive] Meng Wanzhou, China is going to keep on squeezing us. So, Andy knows he has only two options:

  1. Do nothing – Because it’s freaking China, it is huge, and they can squash us like a bug.
  2. Totally sell out – Swallow ourselves whole and declare ourselves China’s slaves… then endure the ‘U.S.A.’ onslaught. So, unless Scheer has a magic plan to do our bidding on China without us having to give away our first-born or sell our soul in exchange, what’s he got to offer?

I’m at if you care to comment, but please, don’t be too negative.