THE BLOG
10/29/2014 01:33 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2014

Attack Ad to Beat All Attack Ads

Those of us in higher education often say that liberal learning includes the preparation for citizenship. It's great to see an example of that preparation grounded in the collaborative work of faculty and students.

The Wesleyan Media Project conducts quantitative and qualitative research to understand more fully the role of spending in races across the country. At its new website, AttackAds.Org, the group of faculty and student researchers puts it this way:

"...a growing body of evidence suggests that ads work better if they are sponsored by unknown groups, which further encourages the growth of dark money. Not only is there no transparency that could help voters better filter the barrage of messages, but there is less accountability in elections. You cannot punish a group in the same way that you can a candidate or a party by not voting for them. This is a problem for democracy. It doesn't have to be this way, however. This site is intended to help educate Americans on the problems of dark money, who the dark money organizations are, and what you can do about it."

Negative advertising has become so pervasive and so detached from honesty that the following may not even seem like a parody:

But here's the key: IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! Learn more at AttackAds.Org

Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University. His most recent book is Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters.