Mark, David 1973–

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Mark, David 1973–


Born March 18, 1973. Education: Brandeis University, B.A. (cum laude), 1995; Columbia University, M.S., 1997.


Home—Bethesda, MD. E-mail—[email protected].


Journalist. Congressional Quarterly, Washington, DC, reporter; Associated Press, Tallahassee, FL, reporter; Campaigns & Elections, editor-in-chief; Politico, senior editor. Lecturer with the U.S. State Department in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, 2004; freelance lecturer on political affairs.


Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Philadelphia Inquirer, Arizona Republic, Miami Herald, Reason, and the Washington Post.


David Mark is a journalist. Born on March 18, 1973, the Pasadena, California, native earned a bachelor of arts degree from Brandeis University in 1995, graduating cum laude. He went on to study at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, graduating in 1997 with a master of science degree. Mark worked as a reporter for the Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC, focusing on Capitol Hill. He also was a reporter for the Associated Press in Tallahassee, Florida. Mark went on to become the editor-in-chief of Campaigns & Elections magazine, covering the inner workings of Washington's political machines and various political trends. From there, he moved on to become a senior editor at Politico.

In May 2004, Mark was hired by the U.S. State Department to lecture about the upcoming presidential and Congressional elections and trends in American politics at venues around the South Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. He also lectures at various conferences and to business, journalist, and academic audiences in the United States and abroad about American politics and election campaigns. He made an appearance on Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2006, one of many television and radio venues he has been invited on to provide political commentary. Mark contributes to a number of journals and periodicals, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Arizona Republic, Miami Herald, Reason, and the Washington Post.

Kerry Howley, interviewing Mark in an article in Reason, questioned the author about why negativity in campaigning is looked down upon by the majority of the electorate. Mark replied: "People are used to commercial advertising, where it's really difficult to go negative. You have regulatory bodies like the Federal Trade Commission. There is a lot of incentive to stay positive because you don't want to drive people away from the product entirely. But the goal of political campaigns is entirely different. It's not to bring out as many people as you can to vote. It's to bring out a very selected group and in many ways you do want to diminish the turnout of people coming to buy your product. When a negative commercial comes on interspersed between commercials for restaurants and laundry detergents, it really stands out." Howley pointed out that many of the specific campaigns and negative ads Mark researched for his first book were not so much about political ideas but were, instead, about personal issues, like sexuality, racial tensions, and fears of terrorist activity close to home. Mark agreed with the summary, adding that "in this age of the Internet, blogging and myriad information sources, it is up to individual voters to figure out for themselves [if] the nasty, mean charges against candidates are accurate or not. For every strong opinion critical of a certain candidate, there are counter-opinions and disagreements easily accessible on the Internet."

Mark published his first book, Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning, in 2006. The book acts as a history of the art of negative campaigning in U.S. politics. Mark pays particular attention to the most notoriously negative races since campaigns began using television to promote their messages and attacks. Mark notes in the book that negative campaign ads have increased significantly since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the country, with many ads accusing the opposition of being weak on issues of homeland security and terrorism, and on occasion, attempting to link the opposing candidate with terrorist leaders themselves. Mark highlights negative campaigns that were quite effective and successful as well as those that backfired and had disastrous effects on the attacking candidate.

Sunny Freeman, writing in Journalism Ethics, commented that "Mark offers some sage advice and stipulations for politicians to work within." Freeman also noted that the author's "account of the evolution of negative campaigning is scrupulous and his expertise on the subject is readily apparent." Freeman summarized that "Mark engages the negative campaigning issue on a lively and accessible level, but his historical accounts would benefit from more theoretical analysis. His guide to negative campaigning ends abruptly, without a conclusion that puts the accounts in a broader political context. However, Mark's interspersed commentary does offer some provocative insight into the inner-workings of American politics." A contributor to the Reference & Research Book News observed that Mark omits discussion of "what are called dirty tricks," the deliberate spreading of lies and other illegal offenses. Leah A. Murray, reviewing Going Dirty in the Political Science Quarterly, remarked that "while scholars and pundits alike bemoan negative campaigning, Mark points out that American voters notice when negative comparison ads lapse into invective, and in those cases, he argues, those ads fail." A contributor to the Midwest Book Review found the book both "accessible to lay readers and political scientists." The same contributor described the account as "a nonjudgmental, thorough, insider's history" detailing political mudslinging in American politics, and ultimately, "highly recommended" the book.



Journalism Ethics, February, 2007, Sunny Freeman, review of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning.

Midwest Book Review, January, 2007, review of Going Dirty.

Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2006, Leah H. Murray, review of Going Dirty, p. 732.

Reason, February 10, 2006, Kerry Howley, author interview.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2006, review of Going Dirty; August, 2007, review of Going Dirty.


David Mark Home Page, (April 16, 2008), author biography.