SuperPACs to Blame for Slew of Attack Ads

A story in The Nation about the ever-growing power of SuperPACs to influence elections cites an analysis by Assistant Professor of Government and Wesleyan Media Project co-director Erika Franklin Fowler and Wesleyan Media Project co-director Travis Ridout of Washington State University about the extreme negativity employed by SuperPACs in advertising. While 64 percent of all ads aired during the 2012 presidential race were negative, a staggering 85 percent of ads aired by outside groups were negative, and only 5 percent were positive, Fowler and Ridout found.

“It’s going to be the case that the more super PACs invest in elections, the more negative those elections will be,” said Michael Franz, the third co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. “They’re the ones doing the dirty work.”