Wondering about those attack campaign ads? Check the Truth Needle
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Reagan Dunn (left), Republican, and Bob Ferguson, Democrat, are running for state attorney general. Both have been targets of attack ads.

From John Brewer, publisher and editor of the Peninsula Daily News:

IT SEEMS LIKE you can't watch TV for more than five minutes before you're bombarded with an attack ad against a candidate or ballot measure.

The Seattle Times has looked into the fact and fiction of many of these ads with a series of "Truth Needle" articles.

As we go into the last week of campaigning, two of the most nasty ads on TV, for example, have to do the race for state attorney general.

One attacks the GOP candidate, Reagan Dunn. The other attacks the Democratic candidate, Bob Ferguson.

"Both ads are so misleading that they are mostly false," The Times found.

The Times has devoted more research time to analyzing campaign ads than any other newspaper in the state.

Its entire series of "Truth Needle" articles can be accessed at http://seattletimes.com/html/truthneedle/ .

The Globe and Mail, Canada's leading newspaper, just did an article about negative campaign advertising by the Democrats and the Republicans, and why negative ads work — it's at http://tinyurl.com/9eowg59.

The current campaign has stood out for its extreme negativity in advertising, The Globe and Mail notes.

According to the Wesleyan Media Project, an academic study that tracks national political advertising, since the beginning of October only 11 per cent of ads sponsored by the Romney campaign were positive, and the Obama campaign had only 6.3 per cent purely positive ads.

Newspaper endorsements

Over the weekend we also noted that many daily newspapers have a long tradition of recommending candidates for political offices to their readers.

These endorsements are offered as more information to voters as they do their own research and make up their own minds about which candidates and ballot measures to vote for.

Washington is a diverse state, with a lot of disagreement among voters, especially between those living in the urban and rural areas.

Newspapers throughout the state often make different recommendations. And some newspapers, like the Peninsula Daily News, do not make endorsements. At the PDN we leave that to our readers — and we're proud to publish their recommendations in Peninsula Voices, our letters to the editor column.

As of last Friday, four papers, including The Seattle Times, had recommended voters re-elect President Barack Obama, while three think it's time for a change and are recommending Mitt Romney.

On the governor's race, however, 11 of the 12 daily newspapers that have endorsed so far recommend Rob McKenna, Washington's current state attorney general.

There's also similar strong support for Referendum 74, allowing same sex marriage.

Eleven of 12 papers support it, while The Daily News in Longview does not.

Some newspaper recommendations are continuing to be rolled out, but The Times did a table Friday looking at how the endorsements are shaping up so far.

The table lists newspaper recommendations for state and federal office and the state ballot measures.

To see the table, click on http://tinyurl.com/listofendorsements .

The New York Times posted a list of presidential endorsements from the nation's largest newspapers.

To see this list, click on http://tinyurl.com/nytlistofendorsements .

Last modified: October 29. 2012 4:57PM
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