Down and dirty

by Susan Bryant

As political campaigns pick up speed this election year, voters can expect to see candidates intensify their attempts to persuade public opinion in their favor. Included

in their political arsenal are the “attack ads” that

many people find the worst part of our election process. Some attack ads become so famous they are

remembered for generations. The Washington Post actually compiled a playlist of videos of the worst negative campaign ads of all time. In fact, a recent Gallup poll indicated that 70% of Americans say they can’t wait for the 2012 presidential election to be over. If negative ads are viewed with such derision by the public, why do candidates continue to use this strategy?

Negativity works

Despite our gut feeling about negative ads, there are several reasons why they are effective according to Ruthann Weaver Lariscy, a professor of advertising and public relations in the Grady College at the University of Georgia.

– Negative information is more memorable than positive information.

– Negative ads are more complex than positive ones, requiring us to process them more slowly and with somewhat more attentiveness.

– Negative messages can elicit a “sleeper effect,” whereby a message becomes dissociated over time from its source. Although we may not remember where we heard something negative, the information is still retained and ultimately can affect our vote. [Continue reading…]

Do police reports establish who was at fault in an automobile accident case?

Police accident reports are

required in every state when people are involved in automobile accidents

with personal injuries on public highways. Many people believe that the police report fixes the legal blame on one of the parties, and that party

must then pay all damages of the other party.

To get an answer, we asked consumer advocate and attorney Don Ernst, of San Luis Obispo, California. Here’s what Don Ernst said when ConsumerNews.com asked him the question: