Filed Under:

'Truth By Repetition': The Evolution Of Political Mudslinging

Play associated audio

There's always name-calling in national elections, but now there are more ways to get the message out, says political opposition researcher Michael Regebian. During the past election, he says, the dirt was just flying more often.

Regebian and Alan Huffman — both former investigative reporters — dig up background on their clients' opponents. While their currency is facts, many of the political attacks this election cycle were doling out something different.

"A lot of the attacks were fact-based, but I feel like facts are more often a supporting actor, if they appear at all," Huffman tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "And what really resonates on the Internet or in an ad is more important than whether or not they're factually based."

In their work, Regebian and Huffman also look for potentially harmful information about their own clients to prepare them for what's out there, as they said on weekends on All Things Considered in March. They tell Lyden they're still amazed at what candidates assume won't be discovered about themselves.

The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision certainly had an impact on campaigning, particularly in advertising, Huffman says, but it wasn't exactly a boon to those in the field of fact-based background research.

"I think it is going to be more difficult to sort of wedge the truth, based on documentation, into the campaign when you've got huge amounts of money that can just sort of create truth by repetition," Huffman says. "So, in a sense ... it's just about the evolution of opposition research, and it's really not clear yet where it's going."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Check Out These Musicians Who Literally Play With Their Food

It turns out beans aren't the only musical fruit. The London Vegetable Orchestra is one of many musical acts that uses all sorts of fruit and veg to produce sweet (and savory) sounds.
NPR

Check Out These Musicians Who Literally Play With Their Food

It turns out beans aren't the only musical fruit. The London Vegetable Orchestra is one of many musical acts that uses all sorts of fruit and veg to produce sweet (and savory) sounds.
NPR

Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel Is Negotiating A Presidential Debate. It Makes Sense

Just after Bernie Sanders thanked Kimmel for possibly securing the debate last night, Kimmel made a Batman vs. Superman joke about Democratic superdelegates.
NPR

Hokule'a, The Hawaiian Canoe Traveling The World By A Map Of The Stars

A voyaging canoe built to revive the centuries-old tradition of Hawaiian exploration is circumnavigating the globe. Its crew has already traveled 26,000 miles navigating with the sun, stars and waves.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.