Mudsling in California! Negative campaigning is Ethics Lecture topic at Fresno State

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Mudsling in California! Negative campaigning is Ethics Lecture topic at Fresno State

The “negative ads” drama that emerged from a Women’s Conference  in Long Beach during an interview with the two major gubernatorial candidates cast a brighter light on a scheduled lecture at California State University, Fresno.

“Mudslinging and Negative Ads – Is It Possible to Run an Ethical Political Campaign?” is the topic of Dr. David Schecter’s presentation for the Fresno State Ethics Center Lecture Series at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in Engineering East Building, Room 191.

Schechter, chair of the Department of Political Science, will discuss ethical issues arising in the context of the fall 2010 elections: advertising, conflicts of interest, campaign finance, political consultant “codes of ethics” and other issues.

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Democratic candidate Jerry Brown agreed to drop negative ads in the remainder of the campaign, but Republican opponent Meg Whitman refused. The suggestion to stop negative ads came from interviewer Matt Lauer of NBC.

Schecter said Whitman had no choice but to refuse since she is behind in polls and Brown has the “luxury to take the high road.”

“In her heart Meg Whitman surely knows that ‘going negative’ is hurting her as much as helping her, but she’s unable to stop right now because she’s behind in nearly every poll. The only way most candidates feel they can level the playing field is to bring the other person down … and down fast,” Schecter said.

“Jerry Brown has the luxury right now of being ahead in the polls so he can afford to take the high road this week and call for the end of ‘negative ads.’  If the shoe were on the other foot he’d never say what he said yesterday.”

Schecter added, “Every generation believes they’re the ones living through the most ‘negative’ time in history, but truth be told, American elections have been rough and tumble for 200 years.”

Whitman and Brown squared off in a debate at Fresno State on Oct. 2, the second of three statewide debates.

Schecter has personal experience in politics. In 2008, he managed Ashley Swearengin’s successful campaign for mayor, and in the mid-1990s he was elected to municipal office in Florida. He joined the Fresno State faculty in 2001 and is frequently a political analyst for media in coverage of politics and elections. Schecter’s main research interests include American politics, political behavior and State and Local politics.

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