Political advertising

Campaign ads battle to bring out voters

Political advertising

Yoon Park, Staff Writer

As tensions rise before the upcoming Wisconsin gubernatorial election, television viewers are being subjected to a slew of new ads designed to sway voters. Some ads have come to a clear case of mudslinging, with both sides challenging the accuracy of the other’s assertions.

“Comeback,” an ad that hit the airwaves on Sept. 11 shows Gov. Walker as he literally climbs out of a hole in the ground, which he contends his opponents have dug for him. He then proceeds to make claims that it was his reforms that got Wisconsin out of the hole, by cutting taxes, eliminating the deficit and creating over 100,000 jobs.

Burke was quick to rebut Walker’s claims in a Sept. 16 ad titled, “Stop Digging.” Starting out by borrowing a short clip from Walker’s ad, where he claims, “it’s a lot easier to dig a hole, than to get out of one.” It refutes Walker’s claims of successful reform by mentioning a $1.8 billion budget deficit and noting that Wisconsin is “dead last” — a recurring theme in Burke’s campaign — in terms of job growth in the Midwest.

On Sept. 30, Walker took the offensive by releasing an ad which addressed the issue of Burke’s alleged plagiarism of pieces of her jobs plan. An overwhelming part of the 30-second clip is taken up by video footage of Burke, who seems visibly shaken when asked to define the meaning of the word, “plagiarism.” The clip fades out from an image of the rattled candidate to a black screen with a grim message which reads, “Mary Burke plagiarized her jobs plan. Wisconsin deserves better.”

Burke again responded and released an ad showing her composed and confident as she briskly addressed the elephant in the room by readily, and somewhat proudly admitting to what Walker’s side addresses as her guilt.

“[Walker’s] saying it takes ideas from other states. Well you know what? Of course it does.” She goes on to say she adopts good ideas from reliable sources to make change in Wisconsin.

The latest of Walker’s campaign ads (as of press time) came out on Oct. 8, in the form of what appears to be a blunt list of rebuttals to Burke’s claims against him. The ad further expounds upon previously suggested notions that Burke was untrustworthy, by providing statistics that directly contradict claims made by Burke’s side. Titled “The Facts,” the ad cites the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exclusively and explicitly by quoting articles which counter claims made by Burke’s campaign. What follows is a presentation of records from the Bureau of Labor regarding job growth between July 2013 and July 2014, showing that Wisconsin ranked third in Midwest job growth.

Two days later, Burke’s campaign released an ad addressing the notion of a “Comeback,” first suggested by Walker in his hole-climbing clip. “He calls it a comeback,” cites a grave male voice, which goes on to quote significant losses in family income, average worker pay over the last year. Next, it points out that consumer spending, wage growth, and job growth, were all again “dead last” in the Midwest.

Particularly notable were the statistics provided for job growth directly clashing with Walker’s growth statistics based on a narrower timeframe. “Those at the top are doing just fine,” the narrator says, on an endnote and then adds with a hint of alarm, “but the rest of us cannot afford four more years.”

Voters can expect more ads from both Walker and Burke to continue to stream right up until election day.