This is your only warning. Turn off your TV set, or your will to live â€” or vote â€” may be decimated.
The Television Bureau of Advertising forecasts that the politicians who want your vote will spend about $3 billion in 2008, a presidential election year. As noted earlier at S&R, the presidential candidates alone have collectively raised more than $265 million since the beginning of this year. The eventual nominees will need to raise more than $500 million each to have a chance to win in November.
Now, toss in the folks running for the House and Senate. Add the chumps, er, chaps, who want to be governors and attorneys general. A whole passel of politicians are looking for your money â€” so they can spend it on campaigning to enlighten you about them, their promises and their records. Riiiight.
Remember, this estimate is $3 billion for television advertising. By politicians. So what do you think we’ll find out in the ads they’ll shell out all that cash for?
Early on, we’ll learn they have wives (or husbands) and suitably cute children. We’ll learn that the men like to walk through town with suit coats slung over the shoulder and sleeves rolled up. They like walkin’ and talkin’ in diners and other working-class emporiums. They will be earnest in tone and wide-eyed in appreciation of the opportunity to serve us with dedication, dignity and honesty. You might even spot some wearing clothing made of Reaganiteâ„¢.
Later, they’ll become feisty. They’ll challenge the incumbent (or encumber the challenger) with vague statements about the opponent’s records, personalities and sinful allegiances to (insert choice here: gays, liberals, religious fundamentalists, libertarians, neo-conservatives â€” just choose one). Then they’ll become downright nasty. No, wait: 527 groups not “aligned” with the candidate’s campaign will do the real Gordon Liddy-style dirty work.
But the word that best describes the content of this $3 billion advertising show is this: vague. They won’t say a damn thing that will come back to haunt them â€” or inform us specifically about what they will do in [insert choice here: Congress, White House, governor’s mansion, etc.] and why they’ll do it that way.
These folks are chasing record amount of money to spend in a record-setting deception that will tell us absolutely nothing.
And you can bet they won’t go out of their way in their ads to tell us:
â€¢ who gave them money and how much.
â€¢ who bundled what amount of money from whom and how much.
â€¢ how much money they received from “leadership PACs” run by powerful members of Congress (and what they promised those powerful folks in return).
â€¢ what industries larded them with political largesse.
So what are we going to get in this information age for $3 billion?
Sheer bullshit. Count on it.
Categories: Crime/Corruption, Journalism, Media/Entertainment, Politics/Law/Government
Drew Weston (George Lakoff 2.0) analyzes how effective these ads are at Huffington Post
He sums up: “If you think the failure to tell a coherent story, or to illustrate your words with the evocative images, is just the “window dressing” of a campaign, you’re missing something very important about the political brain: Political persuasion is about networks and narratives.”
Let’s all collectively shout: “Duh!”
I wonder if there will come a point where networks begin refusing to air campaign ads. Will our TVs be so utterly saturated with them that TV becomes unwatchable? I mean … more than it already is? You’d think there is a critical mass at which point networks begin losing viewership over it.
With the success of An Inconvenient Truth, one has to wonder if it would be cheaper and more effective for candidates to release movies about themselves. Erm … yeah … that’s just silly.
I just did a quick calculation. If we have 150 million people vote in the next election, you assume that each party candidate gets $1.5 billion to spend on their campaign, you assume that only 100 million of those votes are in play (folks on both sides would vote for Fifi the wonder hamster if Fifi had “D” or “R” next to his name on the ballot). You’d then only need 50 million of those votes to guarantee a victory. That’s spending $30 per vote. Hell, at that price, you could probably make an effective campaign out of gifting your target demographic with a free tank of gas.
Damn straight. The arctic circle ain’t far enough…
Denny wrote: “Early on, weâ€™ll learn they have wives (or husbands) and suitably cute children. Weâ€™ll learn that the men like to walk through town with suit coats slung over the shoulder and sleeves rolled up. They like walkinâ€™ and talkinâ€™ in diners and other working-class emporiums. They will be earnest in tone and wide-eyed in appreciation of the opportunity to serve us with dedication, dignity and honesty. You might even spot some wearing clothing made of Reaganiteâ„¢.”
You got ’em, Denny. Right between their lyin’ eyes. Beautiful. Just plain beautiful….