Trust your senses

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I sure understand how people can give up on the political process these days. I don’t spend a heck of a lot of time on the traditional network stations, possibly getting as little as 10 percent of my news from the sources that statistics say provide most people the bulk of their news, but if I did, I’d be ready to throw in the towel.

It is not necessarily the individual campaigners who are making the most outrageous claims against their opponents. That kind of stuff comes directly out of the major political parties. Worse, neither the candidates nor the political parties nor the voters have the slightest idea what the issues are or how to fix them.

Third, anything that follows the words (or some variation): “My opponent believes negative campaigning” will be a lie. It appears that most candidates think this is the way to win elections. And you know what? They’re right.

Study after study has shown that negative campaigning works. And I’m not talking issue-based negative campaigning, which focuses on opponents’ records and is factually based. I’m talking negative campaigning that is simply character assassination or uses hot-button but negatively connoted words like “liberal.” The only thing less true than the Republican National Committee calling Jill Derby liberal is the 17-year University Regent Jill Derby saying she wants to kick out career politicians.

Where does it end? Nothing is what it appears. Sometimes the “information” you’re being spoon-fed is simply misdirection and disinformation to keep voters from looking where the real action is going down. Nobody needs my advice, but here it is: Go to the primary sources of information like the Washoe County Registrar of Voters and the Nevada Secretary of State’s Web sites, read the contribution and expenditure reports. Read your sample ballot.

Go to the polls as informed as possible because if you vote on the basis of what you see on TV or in other media, you’re likely to get screwed—again.