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What’s to muddy?

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

According to Salon, some Democratic Party media flacks are wringing their hands over ads from MoveOn, the Media Fund, and others. The fear? No centralized command-and-control. Thus, they worry, Liberal group ads may muddy Kerry message:

Liberal interest groups are running television ads meant to hurt President Bush and, in effect, help Democratic rival John Kerry. But some media strategists say such efforts could backfire by muddying Kerry’s message of the moment with the electorate.

Interest groups can’t legally coordinate advertising with political campaigns. That means their ads could address different issues than Kerry’s commercials, be nastier than his advisers prefer, clutter the airwaves, stray from obvious themes — the economy and national security — or politicize issues Kerry would rather leave alone.

[N.B.: issues Kerry would rather leave alone is short for the warEd.]

If I were Kerry’s folks, I’d be up nights worrying about this, said Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic media consultant.

Personally, if I were Kerry’s folks, I’d be up nights worrying about the logically prior question: doesn’t Kerry need to have a message before anyone could count as muddying it?

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