I was wondering whether it was just my perception that there were even more (piss-poor) political commercials on TV this time around. There were:
- Candidates, parties and their special interest supporters spent a record $1 billion on television ads in the 2002 election cycle – double the amount spent in the 1998 midterm elections.
The Alliance for Better Campaigns, which supports free ad time for candidates, blamed the broadcast industry for the twofold increase.
“Running for political office has never been as costly as it was in 2002, and the biggest reason is that we continue to allow broadcasters to auction off the right to political speech,” said Paul Taylor, president of the Alliance, which released the ad financing report on Monday.
The report said a total of 1.5 million political spots aired on 573 stations in the nation’s top 100 markets.
But some media experts say broadcasters’ high prices aren’t so much to blame as the flood of ads that hit the market this year. They say the leap in revenue comes from special interest groups, who are putting up their own ads in droves and have been able to front the money to pay for them.
“More ads are being run and that’s just going to continue,” said Art Hackney, a Republican media consultant for Edmonds, Hackney and Associates, who aided Republican Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ victorious re-election bid as well as Sen. Frank Murkowski’s successful bid for Alaska governor.
If I am a typical viewer, I’m not sure the candidates and interest groups got all that much bang for their enormous bucks because the ads just canceled themselves out. When you see six or ten political ads in a row during a commercial break, it becomes one (poorly-produced) blur of cliches, platitudes, attacks, and obviously staged photo-ops. If every third ad was a parody, no one would notice.
There has to be a better way.