Sunday, February 24, 2008

SOUND OFF: `I'VE DECIDED NOT TO SHOW YOU THE FOLLOWING'

Every reader who responded to my question about Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's decision to show an "attack ad" to members of the press, even after he had declared that he wasn't going to succumb to mudslinging and wouldn't air the ad, found that choice to be disingenuous.

"A candidate for the presidency should set the tone for his campaign early on by making it clear that he or she is going to take the high road in campaign ads," writes Phil Clutts of Harrisburg, N.C. "Maybe rising above it all doesn't work in hard-bitten campaigns, where so much is at stake and the opposition is going negative, but in a more instantly informed society I think voters look at negative ads, well, negatively."

"Do Huckabee and his handlers think we're all idiots?" one reader asks. "He apparently reasoned that he could get credit for being ethical while dissing his opponent at the same time. A plague on both their houses!"

"Huckabee is as slick as another former governor of Arkansas," writes George Zahka of Bradenton Beach, Fla. "It's insulting to the voters, and the media naturally jumps for the bait. `Ethical' is not a word easily used in political situations."

The final word, perhaps, belongs to Clutts: "Since Mike Huckabee is a minister, for crying out loud, this pushing the edges of ethics diminishes him considerably."

Check out other opinions at "I've Decided Not to Show You the Following," or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.


c.2008 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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