The philosopher Machiavelli, in a chapter of "Discourses on Livy" called "As much as accusations are useful to a Republic, so much so are calumnies pernicious," makes a useful distinction between accusation and calumny, or slander. Accusers present themselves and their evidence publicly so their accusations can be debated by the accused. That debate provides a reasonable basis for public deliberation. But calumny is anonymous, secret. Spread far and wide, it provides no real opportunity for debate or testing of evidence.Zuckermann pointed out how unsigned potshots will change the nature of the debate here in Mexico.
Now the attacks will be anonymous and therefore more virulent. Under the previous system, at least we knew that the panistas were the ones who said that López Obrador was a danger for Mexico and that the perredistas claimed that Calderón had signed Fobaproa [a notorious bank bailout boondoggle]. But now, the attacks will be unsigned.This is a tricky problem in the internet era. As today's youths, who (in Mexico at least) prefer computer to the television come of age, Youtube ads are probably going to be more important than regular TV or radio spots. Is this the dawning of the age of political slander?