Debating the merits of mudslinging

Political experts with widely opposing views on the civic costs and benefits of negative campaign advertising will debate the merits of mudslinging in a public forum at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall.

The program features discussions by political science professors John Geer, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University, and Thomas Patterson, Ph.D., of Harvard University.

Geer, Professor of Leadership, Policy and Organization at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, is the author of “In Defense of Negativity: Attack Advertising in Presidential Campaigns.”

Geer argues that negative advertising can be helpful in educating voters.

Patterson, the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard, is author of “The Vanishing Voter,” which looks at the causes and consequences of declining electoral participation.

Patterson argues that negative advertising and attack journalism are a turnoff for some citizens and that both are contributing to an erosion of trust and interest in politics.

Sponsored by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy in Arts & Sciences, the event is free and open to the public.

Advance registration, which is recommended but not required, can be made online at, or by calling 935-6790.

For more information, contact Melinda Warren at 935-5652.