$1 billion was spent on TV advertising in the just past midterm elections. Who gained? TV stations. Did the candidates benefit, did the public? I don’t watch that much commercial TV, but I know I saw a boatload of poorly made, vague, repetitive, boring political commercials that just ran together in an endless stream of “families” “integrity” “experience” “people, not special interests” cartoonish visuals, vague threats, and “fiscal responsibility.” I just want to turn the TV off until it’s over: a lot like a PBS pledge drive.
- The United Seniors Association, a group backed heavily by pharmaceutical companies, spent nearly $9 million for TV ads, mostly supporting Republican congressional candidates. That was almost three times more than any other group spent on campaign ads.
United Seniors spent the money on more than 15,000 ad spots in 35 markets.
The Democratic-leaning AFL-CIO was a distant second, spending $3.5 million on more than 5,600 ad spots in nearly 15 markets.
The AFL-CIO was followed by the business-backed, GOP-leaning Americans for Job Security at $1.5 million, and the Democratic-leaning groups Emily’s List at $1.3 million, the Sierra Club at $1.2 million and the Florida Education Association at $1.1 million.
Republican candidates spent almost 20 percent less than their Democratic opponents, according to the final report of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which monitors data from the 100 top media markets around the country. That covers 85 percent of the nation’s population.
In competitive U.S. Senate races since the Sept. 11 anniversary, Democratic candidates, interest groups and the party spent more than their Republican counterparts, the report found.
Advertising grew increasingly negative as the campaign season moved on, especially in the most competitive races, the report found. That progression was interrupted for a few days surrounding the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In the end, it all just seems like a wash – money for nothing (no representation for free).