Monday, August 17, 2009

Campaign 4-Ever

You cannot convince me that this is in the nation’s best interests:
Interest groups on all sides of the debate have spent more than $57 million on television advertisements in six months, most of it in the last 45 days, said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks television advertisements.

“It’s the most we’ve seen this quick,” Mr. Tracey said. “If it goes on all year, we’re looking at one of the biggest public policy ad wars ever.”

I’ve long suspected that our media willfully keeps the American public ignorant and at each others’ throats to the point where a sector of the population would believe in outlandish ideas like government “death panels.” Why? For the express purpose of creating an ad war. Sounds crazy, I know, but when I survey the landscape to see who is profiting right now, all I come up with is alphabet soup: CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS.

Think about it: the networks get rich off the election cash cow that arrives every two years. But how to rescue the bottom line in off years? Of course in 2007, we had our earliest presidential primary season ever. Remember this?

As such, Tracey predicts that there could be as much as $600 million in broadcast political ad spending this year. While that pales in comparison to last year's record $2.3 billion in political commercials, fueled by the bitter mid-term elections, Tracey said ad spending in 2007 could be the highest ever for an odd-numbered year.

2008 we were in full campaign mode. 2009 could have been a wash, but it looks like the networks’ bacon has been saved by healthcare reform. Next year we will have the mid-term elections, and then the Republican presidential primary.

Of course, this sounds way too “tin-foil hattish” for my liking. But anyone wondering why our news media specializes in lies and distortions might also keep in mind all the public policy groups advertising to “correct the record”:

Supporters of Mr. Obama’s plan to overhaul the system have outspent opponents, with $24 million worth of advertising, compared with $9 million from opponents. An additional $24 million has been broadly spent in support of overhauling the system without backing a specific plan.

Sound crazy? No crazier than a government-sponsored “death panel” pulling the plug on your grandma.