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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Czar, Campaign Killers, & Pop Quiz Answers

The YouTube debate was not the only exciting new program that aired on CNN this past week. In case you missed them, there were also two new documentaries. The first was part of the Broken Government series, Campbell Brown's Campaign Killers.

The program examines the impact of political attack ads in the election process.

Have you heard the term "swift voting" a campaign? It stems from the 2004 Presidential campaign, when an organization ran a negative campaign ad against John Kerry. The Kerry campaign chose not to address the claims made in the attack ad for over two weeks. The ad, their decision not to respond to it quickly, and the media's coverage of the claims made may have contributed to President Bush's victory.

The swift vote ad is only one of many featured in the program. The Urban Legend ad attacking Rudy Guiliani, the General Betray Us ad, and the Willie Horton ad attacking Michael Dukakis are just a few that are highlighted.

Campbell Brown interviewed Eli Pariser, the founder of He’s not exactly what you might expect when you think of someone who runs one of the most influential liberal political action committees of recent years. He's under 30 and runs the site out of his apartment. There are no corporate offices.

The segment that really surprised me was about Mark McKinnon’s history of ads class. Mud slinging ads are not a product of TV. Thomas Jefferson used attack ads in the form of pamphlets in the 1800 campaign against President Adams. They worked then, too.

The internet has changed the rules a little bit. Now, anyone with a computer can create their own ads and post them on the internet. The 1984 style ad attacking Hillary Clinton was posted on the internet anonymously. Campaigns have no control over what might be created on their behalf by a well meaning individual.

Friday night, Christiane Amanpour’s Special Investigation Unit’s Czar Putin premiered. The program takes a critical look at Russian democracy.

Communism is history in Russia, but is democracy a reality? Fashion week in Russia gives the allusion of capitalism. Income levels have increased since the fall of communism and the government is elected. The program takes a critical look at current day Russia and suggests that Vladimir Putin’s party has total dominance over the political process and silences any opposition.

Here are few highlights from the program:

  • Anna Politkovskaya , a Russian Journalist , was a critic of Putin’s democracy. She happened to have been murdered on Putin’s birthday, so the celebration of his birthday overshadows the anniversary of Politkovskaya’s murder.
  • 220 journalists have been killed since 1991.
  • Garry Kasparov, grand chess master and a would be Presidential candidate of the Other Russia party, tries to run for President, but is unable to get his name on the ballot.
  • NTV was a TV network that criticized Putin and has since been shut down.
  • Alexander Litvinenko, a former spy, was critical of the government. The British authorities are still trying to get hold of the person responsible for his murder so that they can prosecute him.


Mystery Journalist

OK, hands off the keyboard. Time is up! Did you enjoy this pop quiz of past Mystery Journalists? The correct journalists are listed below:


David Mattingly


Peter Bergen


Tony Harris


Candy Crowley


Randi Kaye


John Zarrella




John King


Drew Griffith


Heidi Collins


Chris Lawrence


Nic Robertson


Ed Henry

How did you do? Keep your eye out for future Mystery Journalists.


Millie said...

Dang!!! I could have sworn "N" was JK!! My first thought was "I" actually, but then I changed my mind. Oh well. You should always go with your first instict, lol!

Sapphire said...

ok now that I can see the is so obvisous. Well the 4 I guessed I got right. Yea me!!!!

The specials were both very good. Thanks for the recaps BA