If you’re like me, the eight words you never want to hear again (at least until 2013) go something like this:
“I’m [first last], and I approved this message.”
There are good reasons why many of us are weary of this phrase…about 7,770 reasons in my hometown in September alone.
Between September 9 and September 30, the two presidential candidates and their supporters placed nearly 8,000 television ads in Denver, more than in any other market in the key states of Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and in the District of Columbia.
In terms of dollars spent, the Kantar Media Group/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project, reports that, from June 1 through September 30, the volume of presidential advertising across the country was already nearly double that of the 2008 campaign.
In the Denver metro market alone, the candidates spent more than $700 million for 26,000 TV ads from June through September.
Why has Denver received such concentrated attention?
The October 3 debate on the University of Denver campus is one answer, but the primary explanation is that Colorado is a swing state, a battleground state, a state that’s “too close to call.”
Such states have a number of likely voters who are undecided, or are iffy about their candidate.
Before the debate at DU, the presidential race was tighter than in Colorado than in any other swing state. And current poll results says it’s staying that way.
It’s interesting, though, because Colorado contributes only nine of the total 538 votes in the Electoral College.
By my calculations, this equates to about $77 million and 2,889 TV ads per vote…and that’s just through the end of September and just in the Denver-area market.
Also, these numbers refer only to television advertising for the presidential candidates.
But, when the race truly is too close to call, those nine votes—of the 270 votes needed to win a majority—could be the difference between winning and losing the presidency.
I shared these numbers with friends who—almost universally—wondered aloud how many people could be fed with this amount of money.
The total dollars spent by all candidates is truly staggering; yet, as much as I would like to see the same amount of money go to fight hunger and poverty, I have to stand on the side of access to information.
When I lived briefly in Turkmenistan this time two years ago, there was no question about who was or would be president.
Current president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov took office in February 2007 after the death of President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov and the imprisonment of Niyazov’s constitutionally appointed successor.
Although the new constitution allows the formation of multiple political parties, the former Communist Party has been the only one effectively permitted to operate.
Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned.
There are no commercial or private TV stations in Turkmenistan, and articles published by the state-controlled newspapers are heavily censored.
That’s all different here, of course, as a quick spin just through television news shows and online media will confirm.
We here in the U.S. need to be conscious consumers of news and advertising.”
We need to listen and learn, seek the facts, and make decisions that are right for us.
However, this is only possible because we have access to the information.
When I tire of hearing the ads, especially the negative ones, I remind myself that free speech and freedom of the press make this knowledge available to me…and that I am able to make my own decisions and vote for the candidate of my eventual choice.
I’m Andrea Doray and I approved this posting.”
A little more about the author:
Andrea Doray is a full-time writer who, to the probable dismay of family and friends on both sides of the political aisle, is still among the truly undecided. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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