Monday, October 23, 2006

Why Larry Sabato Gets the Big Bucks

The Columbus Dispatch has been running some fairly silly ad watch stories lately. Recently they transcribed a DeWine press release to proclaim that DeWine’s campaign was “toughening” their ad campaign. This made little sense to me – DeWine’s all 9/11 all the time campaign seemed plenty tough – until it became clear that “tough” in this case meant “dishonest.”

Sunday’s CD should be sent to the Pulitzer committee in the Gratuitous Expert Opinion category. After noting the dueling Senate ads featuring Iraq War families, they bring in UVA politics guru Larry Sabato to explain this all to any reader who is utterly ignorant of human nature:

    "It naturally adds credibility to whatever they’re saying, since we all owe them a fair hearing regardless of what they’re saying about Iraq," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

    "If a politician talks about something, most people will turn the channel. Very few people are going to turn the channel when a veteran or a veteran’s family is addressing them."
Well thank God the CD staff ponied up the long distance charge to Charlottesville for that. As silly as the dial-an-expert game can be, the CD ramps up the silliness by quoting an eminence like Sabato to describe basic common sense. Or, as Dr. Michael Klag, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Medical School puts it:
    Your nose is generally located somewhere near the center of your face.