Oct
28
2008

Ad Money Swamps Media – Dilutes Election Coverage

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman (Truthdig, 10/22/08) writes on the extent, and consequences, of a political season in which "commercial broadcasters are cleaning up… like never before, and you'll never hear them questioning the system that allows so much money to come back to them":

The Obama campaign has "flooded the zone" with advertising. It has a full-time "Obama Channel" on Dish Network. Ads have been inserted into video games like Guitar Hero. The campaign has bought a full 30 minutes of prime-time airtime on NBC, CBS and Fox, six days before the election. Fox moved the start time of the World Series to accommodate the ad buy….

The $2-billion presidential race also guarantees vast profits for the broadcasters, the national networks and the local television stations. Hundreds of television stations are using the public airwaves, imposing themselves between the candidates and the public.

Wondering, "Is public financing of campaigns dead?", Goodman recalls Obama's stated support for "public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests," but concludes that, "regardless of who the winner is, the next president will enter the White House with a long list of major donors to thank."

See related item No. 10, "Obama's Money", in FAIR's Media Advisory: "Top Troubling Tropes of Campaign '08" (10/20/08)