politics, advertising, and the 24/7 news cycle

Campbell Brown, one of CNN’s anchors, offers the following observation: McCain and Obama will spend $30M between now and election day on advertising. If they really cared about Americans then shouldn’t they be donating that money to feed the hungry or something?

And I wonder what kind of cynical political hash would be made of such a move? But more to the point, this self-righteous contention conveniently overlooks the complicity of CNN, other news networks, and the rest of the media (new and old) who feed off of all this garbage. Like many, I’ve been following the news more closely of late, partly because the election and partly because of our economic situation. How many times do they come on and say "Americans don’t care about Bill Ayers or Joe the Plumber"? And then the next sentence is a story about this kind of negative campaigning. Negative campaigning gets most of the attention.

Who is so obtuse as to not see this formula. Here’s 30 minutes about negative campaigning and people’s reactions and some polling data (as if an election were a horse race). Then we hear voters say, "I don’t know enough details about the candidates’ economic plan." Well how ’bout we spend those 30 minutes of news time doing some actual reporting and investigating?

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