Several major media figures have already complained about the tone of the 2012 presidential race, with much of the criticism directed at President Obama's re-election campaign. For example, Karl Rove, without acknowledging the irony, has frequently condemned Team Obama for relying on "fear"-based attack ads.
Perhaps now would be a good time for a quick reality check. Josh Green cited research from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, which found that 63,793 presidential campaign ads have been broadcast since the start of the general election campaign on April 10. As Green noted, the data uncovered a noteworthy trend: "Democrats are running a largely positive campaign, while Republicans are running a mostly negative one."
As is my wont, I put together a chart on the available data:
Maddow Blog chart based on data from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group
Which side of the aisle is running more attack ads? At this point in the process, there doesn't appear to be much of a contest.
Green added, "So why, if Obama is running overwhelmingly positive ads, does the media coverage leave the impression that the campaign has been overwhelmingly negative? Axelrod provided a clue. He said that the positive ads have been running mostly in the battleground states -- where national media bigwigs like Bob Schieffer don't see them."