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May 20, 2016

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*Bugs Bunny voice* Whatta buncha maroons

Nice to have an untruth corrected, but an inadvertent untruth is not what I found scurrilous about the mailer. Even if it was legal, I felt that it was cowardly and unethical to send it out anonymously. Obviously if the secretary of state's office said that it was legal it was. But I thought we had a law saying that campaigners had "to approve this message". In any case, illegal is not the same as unethical. Carole Smith had the right,even duty, to criticize her opponent. But doing it anonymously was scurrilous. Looking at Smith's campaign expenditures it seems likely that she did send it. There is a printing/mailing expense properly recorded that looks like it could be for the mailer. Your vaunted investigative reporting skills don't extend to the people you support, Brian?

Mary Ann, in my first post on this subject I said, "I'm not a fan of anonymous political attack ads. But I'm also a fan of truthfulness. The mailer Bennett dislikes speaks the truth about him. I've demonstrated that."

I'm more bothered by non-anonymous lying than by anonymous truth-telling. For example, if someone anonymously said about me, "Brian Hines is a marvelous blogger, unsurpassed in the Known Universe of Salem Politics," I wouldn't be at all bothered, because I'd feel THIS IS THE TRUTH!

But numerous times I've had non-anonymous people, including city councilors, say lying crap about my blog posts that, when I asked them for evidence in support of their "he lies" accusations, wasn't supplied. Because what they accused me of was untrue.

It's pretty clear that the Carole Smith for Mayor campaign was behind the ad. I'm sure just about everybody can figure that out without a degree in investigative reporting. The anonymity of the ad doesn't bother me very much, because the content of the ad was true. I've looked at every statement in the ad. Each is outright true, or clearly defensible.

By contrast, during the Mayor's race campaigning I heard about numerous things Chuck Bennett was saying about Carole Smith that weren't true. I blogged about some of those, because I feel that truth-telling in politics is important. For that reason, I feel that Bennett ran a much more sleazy campaign that Smith did.

Sure, it can be argued that not disclosing the source of a political ad is untruthful. However, in a satirical ad, I think more leeway should be given before calling it "scurrilous." Tina Fey didn't start her Sarah Palin sketches by saying, "I'm not really Sarah Palin. I'm Tina Fey." That would have ruined the joke.

The mailed ad's "joke" was that Chuck Bennett was telling voters about certain things that he had done, or was involved in, that Bennett was proud of. The creator of the ad had to make a choice about how to handle the satire. They decided to do the Tina Fey thing and not say "This ad really isn't from Chuck Bennett. It is from the Carole Smith for Mayor campaign."

Me, I might have handled the ad differently. But that's a matter of creative judgement, how satire is put across. Again, I'm WAY less bothered by the ad's truthful anonymity than by politicians like Bennett making untruthful non-anonymous statements.

In the same fashion, I'm more bothered by Donald Trump standing on a stage and spewing outright lies about Clinton, than by a secretive Hillary Clinton Super-PAC speaking the truth about Trump.

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