Election Advertising and Politics
|From now until the Presidential
election of 2012 (actually from now on) candidates with the
encouragement and financial backing of 'party supporters' and fundraising efforts of their own will seek
to compile, which in the lingo, is called a 'war chest'. In these
'war chests' there are no offensive armaments usually associated with
traditional concepts of war like guns, ammo, tanks, artillery and so
forth. In addition there are no defensive mechanisms like
personal camouflage or bomb shelters. No, these are political 'war
chests' and they only contain money.
Cash for 30 second television infomercials. Cash for radio airtime political advertisements. Cash for online political advertisements disguised as discussions of the issues but are in fact ads for one candidate or another. Cash for the greatest image manipulators money can buy. What a feather in the cap of any Ad-agency which manages to land a 'top' candidate. Now, that would be a great episode on 'Pitch' from A&E.
It seems very difficult to separate media newscasters, commentators and pundits as objective when the political agenda is completely obvious. At least with the political ads we can tell which side produced the advertising message whether it is pro or con. We may not have heard of the content sponsor organization (this message sponsored by 'Responsible Citizens for New and Improved Government and Healthcare') but we can tell which side or which candidate is being discussed.
For some reason many people view television campaign ads as a familiar interruption to the show they are watching. Viewer metrics show the advent of the 'clicker' created the "commercial escape vehicle". Unless the viewer only has an option of a very few (4-6) channels, the expectation of a majority of viewers changing the channel during the commercial duration is quite high. Even news station are not immune to viewer commercial escape hence the segment 'tease' 'after the break', trying to create a compelling reason for the viewer to return for the next 'must see' story.
It is the media outlets who become the big winners in political races because even if no one is watching they're getting paid to air the commercial based on the viewer-ship of last year. With the 4-G technology advancements one would certainly expect the cable companies to be able to provide at least the same level of interaction or analytics as any common Website. These are not metrics cable companies want advertisers to know. (how long were you on CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC etc and then, when and to what channel did you turn?) That would certainly make the Neilson Ratings obsolete.
In Wisconsin it was estimated the Walker campaign raised more than $30 million. How much of that money went into the state economy regardless of where it came? The challenger raised an estimated $4 million. Who were the beneficiaries of that money?
It could be argued that media impartiality is impossible due to economics. As a business owner (media) the first responsibility is to the business bottom line not the community. From which of the two coffers mentioned above would a responsible business owner provide discounted airtime, or prime airtime or any other incentives likely to engage the favorable purchase of airtime, newspaper editorial, newspaper advertorial, frontpage ad banners online etc?
"Wag the Dog". It seems very unlikely the Romney campaign would buy online advertising from the Huffington post or TV ads from CNN. When they (CNN pundits, Rachel Madow, Chris Matthews, the Ed Show) say the election was stolen by big money, what they really mean is they didn't give us any of the money, so we say they stole the election because of big money. It couldn't have had anything to do with the issues facing the people of Wisconsin.
When asked by these 'talking heads' "what happened in Wisconsin"? various so-called experts blamed it on money contributions. Had to be because of the money. No way could it be about issues, just had to be about the outside money donations. Without the money of Scott Walker the good people of Wisconsin would not be so easily duped. Did we forget about the Obama presidential campaign? He raised more money than anyone in the history of politics.
There is no dispute FOX supports Republicans while CNN, MSNBC, CNBC support the Democrats. If this and future (elections) are really about money, perhaps it is how and to whom the money is spent. If most democratic advertising dollars are spent on 'favorable' networks it seems quite likely the commentators could not have an unbiased assessment of either Republican or Democratic issues. Comments would surely support the party of choice or risk losing all that ad money. When the complaint is about money it appears that the real complaint is "they're not spending enough with us".