AP Calls It: “Name-Calling is Winner This Campaign Season”

With no precincts reporting, the AP is projecting that name-calling has won the 2010 election. From a piece headlined “Insults abound in 2010 campaigns:”

Name-calling is a winner this campaign season. By a landslide…

Political insults are as old as America itself, morphing into ever-new forms as television, the Internet, bloggers and Twitter replaced more technologically primitive forms of communication.

Then, as now, they were intended to render a target loathsome…

But as the technology has become less primitive, name-calling seems more so.

Instead of attacking a politician’s views, many critics now choose to call the politician names and leave it at that.

And the AP chooses to write up some of those names… and leave it at that.

Like, readers learn that “Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum recently referred in a statement to his Republican rival for governor as ‘career fraudster Rick Scott.’” And, “Arizona Sen. John McCain aired an ad not long ago calling GOP primary opponent J.D. Hayworth ‘a huckster.’”

No details. Nothing about the significance, let alone the merits, if any. Just… the “insults.”

Also? “In Georgia, one Republican candidate for governor, Karen Handel, said the other [Nathan Deal] needed to “put on big boy pants.”

(Well, did he? A little help? Politifact? Anyone?)

With “crotch-kicker,” at least, the AP felt compelled to include a bit more context:

Then there’s Connecticut, and a statement the Democratic National Committee sent around referring to the Republican Senate candidate as Linda “crotch-kicker” McMahon. Asked about his choice of words, spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in an e-mail: “Well - her opponent ran that ad showing her doing it.” She is a former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment.

(So, “What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes in this year’s election?”)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.