Can we trust the mass media on the Republican primary coverage?

After Iowa, despite only “winning” by 8 votes, Mitt Romney was declared the champ. Then, in New Hampshire, a state that had more reporters in it than voters for the primary there, Romney’s unconvincing win had somehow “catapulted him into the frontrunner’s position” according to the media. The media predicted Romney to wrap it up in South Carolina- and never mentioned Newt Gingrich as a contender, instead we heard Santorum was better positioned. Then, it turns out Santorum actually won Iowa- almost a week after it had been “reported” that he came in second. Perry and Huntsman dropped out- not because they didn’t think the voters should be able to vote for them, but because they weren’t able to raise the money to keep in the limelight. Three states that are  inconsequential in the final election vote and the rest of the country is decided?

Last night Gingrich won South Carolina with 40% of the vote, we’ve been told. The first thing he did was tweet asking for more money in the form of a “moneybomb.”

@newtgingrich Newt Gingrich

Thank you South Carolina! Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now. bit.ly/wFVY4G

via Twitter / @newtgingrich: Thank you South Carolina! ….

From my campaign piece (which will be posted later in it’s entirety:

Why you can’t trust the media

We were all taught about the three branches of government: legislative, judicial and executive. The so called “fourth estate” (the media) was supposed to be the watchdog.
Betcha Ben Franklin never envisioned making billions from his fellow founding fathers in their quest for political office. The media’s main job these days is making sure the politicians and their “SuperPACs” keep spending billions on advertising.
We don’t hold elections, we host auctions and big media takes their cut on every one.
There is nothing “fair and balanced” about any of it.
I’m in advertising and what our politicians do shouldn’t be dignified by being called advertising.
Advertising enhances a product, what they do tears it down.
If you or I produced ads with the same exaggerated claims and false promises and then failed to deliver, we’d be in jail.*
The real question is if political “advertising” helps anyone make better choices on who to vote for?
I bet you say no.

*Parts of this post are paraphrased from a 1994 ad in the New York Times “Don’t call it advertising”
paid for by Ketchum Communications and written by Jerry Della Femina.

I still have a yellowed copy of that ad. A quick search of the Internet didn’t turn it up, but did find a few posts about it including this one from Ad Age- about the sleaziness of the 1994 ad season. (I’ll have to shoot a picture of the ad and post it later, [DONE] it hung on the wall over my desk for years). Since then, we’ve seen not only the sleaze factor rise, we’ve seen “Swiftboating,” the “Citizens United” ruling that says corporations are people and the cost go from $1 billion to a predicted $6 billion (I believe it will be more like $10B at this rate).

In case you haven’t been following the media industry- it’s in trouble. Ad revenues across the board on “broadcast media” have been down. The print industry has been decimated, especially newspapers that are struggling to find their place in a digital, highly targeted world. The only bright spot in the traditional media world for revenues is the growth of the political market. Those billions of SuperPAC money spent on smear and muck are putting the media giants back in the black- and they know it.

For those in America still trying to sell an honest product using mainstream media, this political circus becomes an orange barrel obstruction in their quest to reach American consumers. If you wanted to run television advertising in South Carolina for legitimate business over the last month, you would have been hard pressed to buy media- and would have been looking at paying a premium thanks to the political shysters plying their craft of whatever it is they call it- just “don’t call it advertising.”

If all these commercials went away tomorrow, replaced instead with real debates, a single voter’s guide with equal space for all candidates, unlimited candidate websites where they could say and do whatever they pleased and a complete ban on any money going to politicians for their campaigns- would you miss this theater of the absurd?

Read what Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich proposed with HB 100:

This week, I introduced a Constitutional Amendment which would require that all federal campaigns be financed exclusively by public funds and prohibit expenditures from every other source.

My amendment, H.J. Res. 100, would change the way we finance the elections of our Presidents, Senators and Representatives. It is our chance to return the government to the control of the people.

via Citizens Unite for a Constitutional Amendment | Kucinich.US.

It’s time. You can’t trust the media any more than the politicians. They are all sleeping in the same bed. It’s time to blow up the “moneybomb” model of politics.

 

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10 Responses

  1. Gary January 22, 2012 / 1:51 pm
    Instead of giving donations to the moneybomb and the SuperPACs, instead, or if, those monies went into job creation somehow, we could get ourselves out of this recession. But instead, it appears most Americans are gullible and will listen to the media give deluted statements about the runners of/in politics.
    BTW, anyone know how many states the Repub needs to cement his/her nod for the presidency?
  2. Gary January 22, 2012 / 4:44 pm
    diluted, not deluted  Anyway, didn’t JFK win the Presidency by having the media on his side?  I thought citizens did the voting …
  3. Paul Sevensky January 22, 2012 / 6:54 pm
    With the amount of Super PAC money that Citizens United allows at the table, this fall’s elections will set new records for ugliness in negative political advertising. If you thought the 2010 mid-terms were ugly, just wait. My take on negative political advertising: “Don’t Call it Advertising – Again” at http://www.paulsevensky.com/?p=40
  4. Dad January 23, 2012 / 11:01 am
    Yes, we can trust the mass media on their coverage of the Republican free-for-all.
    Here is what they can do:
    Report on who is in or out, what they say about themselves, what they say about each other, give the latest polling results.
    What more can you expect from an ongoing story?
    Contrary to your point of view, the media’s editorial decisions are not driven by the advertising volume. The media (and it is always a plural) carefully separate editorial and business operations (except when it concerns themselves as in the case of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s coverage of the closing of the Cleveland Press).
    Disclaimer: I am a retired editor and reporter who worked on the Boston Herald-Traveler, the Celina Daily Standard, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Toronto Globe and Mail.
     
  5. Dad January 23, 2012 / 11:14 am
    Here is an example of why the media can be trusted.
    In 1960, the owner of a Celina department store got furious when the paper endorsed John Kennedy for president. He came down to the paper and confronted the publisher, Parker Riley Snyder, about “that Catholic guy.” Snyder picked him up by the shirtfront and bore him out of the building, telling him: “Nobody tells me whom to endorse. You can no longer advertise in my paper.”
    Months later, when the store was having a big sale, he came back and begged Snyder to run his ads. The answer was no.
     
  6. David Esrati January 23, 2012 / 11:17 am

    @Dad- every article where I see “Front runner” I discount as opinion- not news. As to the separation of editorial and business decisions- that’s all gone out the door since your day’s at a Selectric. Fox News has proven that they will go to any length to fan the flames of an ad war. The other networks have followed.

    Even opinion polls are inaccurate these days- mostly because the technology they used to use to sample- the telephone, is no longer a good indicator, since cell phone numbers are highly guarded compared to the old the Plain Old Telephone systems of your day. Even intercepts aren’t always accurate- people don’t always want to tell you who they really voted for.

    The whole thing is a circus- and the media is selling the tickets.

  7. David Esrati January 23, 2012 / 11:23 am

    @Dad- that was 1960. Nobody needs to advertise in a newspaper anymore. There were only 3 TV networks then- times have changed.

  8. John Ise January 23, 2012 / 1:12 pm
    From Mark Styne’s blog:

    …from Mitt Romney’s stump speech:

    “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” 

    Mitt paid some guy to write this insipid pap. And he paid others to approve it.  $100 to whoever can tell me what it means.

  9. bobby January 23, 2012 / 1:31 pm
    “$100 to whoever can tell me what it means.”

      Answer:  It is, what it is.  

     

  10. David Esrati January 26, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    I posted a copy of the “Don’t call it advertising” ad: http://esrati.com/?p=8018

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