Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns featuring the author, John G. Geer, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Vanderbilt University; with comments by Jeremy Mayer, George Mason University; and moderated by John Samples, Director, Center for Representative Government, Cato Institute.
Americans think negative campaign ads undermine elections and even democratic government itself. But John G. Geer argues that when political candidates attack each other, raising doubts about each other's views and qualifications, voters - and the democratic process - benefit. "In Defense of Negativity," Geer's study of negative advertising in presidential campaigns from 1960 to 2004, asserts that proliferating attack ads are far more likely than positive ads to focus on salient political issues, rather than politicians' personal characteristics. Accordingly, the ads enrich the democratic process, providing voters with relevant and substantial information before they head to the polls. Geer concludes that, if we want campaigns to grapple with relevant issues and address real problems, negative ads just might be the solution- Cato Institute
John G. Geer
Professor of Public Policy and Education
John G. Geer, professor at Vanderbilt University, is currently serving as the Editor of The Journal of Politics. Geer's research interests are American politics, with a focus on elections, public opinion, and political communication.
Geer has a recent book with University of Chicago Press, In Defense of Negativity. He is working on projects with Rick Lau of Rutgers University and Deborah Brooks of Dartmouth College. Geer teaches courses on the Presidency, Elections, Advertising, and Introduction to American Politics.
Jeremy Mayer is an associate professor in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University. Most recently, he is the co-author of Closed Minds? Politics and Ideology in American Universities (2008) and co-editor of Media Power, Media Politics, 2nd Ed. (2008). He has written articles on diverse topics such as presidential image management, Christian right politics, federalism and gay rights, and comparative political socialization in several journals, and has offered political commentary to major networks and national newspapers. Previously, Mayer taught at Georgetown University and Kalamazoo College, where he won a campus-wide teaching award. He is a recipient of the Rowman & Littlefield Award in Innovative Teaching for the American Political Science Association, the only national teaching award in political science. He also has studied politics at Oxford, Michigan, and Brown.
John Samples directs Cato's Center for Representative Government, which studies campaign finance regulation, delegation of legislative authority, term limits, and the political culture of limited government and the civic virtues necessary for liberty.
He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining Cato, Samples served eight years as director of Georgetown University Press, and before that, as vice president of the Twentieth Century Fund. He has published scholarly articles in Society, History of Political Thought, and Telos.
Samples has also been featured in mainstream publications like USA Today, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on NPR, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. Samples received his Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University.