The article on negative ad campaigning by Tom Flanagan, in today's Globe and Mail, shows how out of touch he is, and consequently his party and his friend, Stephen Harper.
That Flanagan can even consider the ads that the Conservatives have been issuing during their time in government as belonging to "the most moderate" variety is ludicrous. There is nothing moderate about the character assassination that surrounded Stephane Dion. There is nothing moderate about implicitly attacking an individual's "Canadianess", simply because Mr. Ignatieff has not stuck around the country as long as Mr. Harper.
And there is most definitely nothing moderate about insinuating that the Bloc Quebecois are pedophiles, or at the least sympathizers.
Tom Flanagan must have missed what the word moderate means. In addition to this evidence of highly malleable definitions in the Conservative vocabulary, Flanagan maintains that all these ads are based in fact. He points us to Mr Dion's quote "it's not easy being a leader", to Ignatieff's 30-odd years out of the country, and to Bill C-268.
According to Flanagan, ads addressing these facts were merely recalls of the news. What Flanagan fails to mention is that the ads in question were interpretations of these facts, not facts in themselves.
It's not easy being a leader does not necessarily imply that Dion is not a leader. It implies that there are challenges and that he will have to address those. That Ignatieff spends 30 years out of the country does not imply he is "just visiting". That also is an instance of Tory interpretation. The most blatant interpretation is showing a pedophile in the background of an ad attacking the Bloc.
Finally, what about the ads attacking Dion's character? They were never explicitly about his awkwardness, or his difficulties in English, but often came across that way. It was a pure case of character assassination.
I ask you, what definition of moderate is Tom Flanagan using?
For other good reads on this issue:
Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan Defends Tory attack ads at Canadian Soapbox
Flanagan's folly at Liberal Arts and Minds
Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers
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