New York Times' Peters Singles Out GOP Ads (Willie Horton, Swift Boat Vets) as 'Dirty Politics'

New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters singled out Republican campaign ads as uniquely "synonymous with dirty politics" in Tuesday's "Conservative ‘Super PACs’ Sharpen Their Synchronized On-Air Message."

Independent political groups have long been the guerrilla warriors of presidential elections, tossing explosive advertisements into the middle of a campaign like hand grenades, with little regard for the strategy of the candidate they support.

But this year, in a tight race that leaves very little room for error, the conservative “super PACs” and other outside entities working to defeat President Obama have reached a consensus: Going off message is simply too risky.

So they operate largely from the same playbook, sharing polling data and focus group research to develop many of the same lines of attack. And they are being careful to keep their efforts consistent with the themes being emphasized by Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The result is a striking degree of symmetry. To see many of the anti-Obama ads that have run on television recently, it would be easy to conclude that they were made in the same studios, by the same producers working for the same campaign.


Independent groups have long been the attack dogs and provocateurs of modern politics. The ads they produce -- about a convict on furlough named Willie Horton or Swift Boat veterans -- have become synonymous with dirty politics.

Times reporters have long expressed their loathing for both sets of (effective) Republican accusations against Democratic presidential candidates.