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The Political Advertising Ruse and the Electoral College [AUDIO]

 [AUDIO] explanation in this short clip: http://naplay.it/1123/1:44:56

Excerpt from the new Amazon almost best-seller  Media Collusion: Journalism and Marketing Experts Share the Secrets of Sneaky Advertising, Targeted Persuasion, AI and Tracking, Political Deception and Coercion, and Dishonest News

A Taste: Critical Insight for Understanding Political Advertising

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”  – Henry David Thoreau

If you like the following analysis, you’re going to get a lot out of this course and the text hereafter. We go deeper into these issues in Part 8, but the general overview of the issue follows.

The American political system, the news media and the advertising industry are symbiotic. Every two to four years – as election cycles in the country dictate – candidates raise large amounts of money, most of which is spent on advertising that’s designed to persuade the public to vote them into power or solve some particular issue via proposition. This is a cycle:

The biggest winners in this system are the large media publications and the cable news networks, national network news and local news stations. The various problems this arrangement causes should probably be looked at more closely and perhaps remedied.

One salient issue is that the political players, who can easily direct money into specific localities via network and local news ad buys, have come to ignore specific states and communities, because they’ve become irrelevant ad targets. In recent decades, California, for example, votes overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections. The candidates, in turn, have learned not to spend campaign and advertising dollars in the state, because it’s money wasted on an assured outcome. States like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, however, attract huge amounts of ad dollars because voting there is much more competitive. As a result, California news outlets don’t get the same kind of cash infusion every two to four years as many other states. 

Another recent complication is the internet. Social media platforms and the internet have – to the consternation of many – produced a wrinkle in the conventional cycle. Candidates and causes can go directly to voters and bypass the traditional advertising and publishing routes. 

This does not sit well with advertisers or the news outlets that run the ads and cash the ad buy checks. If a candidate can go directly to the people via Twitter to promote her causes, positions and interests, then almost all parties connected to the traditional advertising system lose out. This includes agencies, creatives, ad buyers, distribution and the traditional networks. This is an evolving issue for the news industry, social media companies, and the candidates and propositions. Some questions:

  • How much of a typical campaign ad budget has been usurped by Facebook, Google, Twitter and other internet advertising campaigns?
  • How much money is not spent on ads because candidates can go direct to the people?
  • Can mainstream media prevent the encroachment of social media and claw back ad dollars?
  • Do traditional networks demonize social networks in their reporting and entertainment coverage in order to stay relevant?
  • When are platforms like Facebook and YouTube considered TV networks as opposed to a social networks?

Developments surrounding hacks, data breaches, click bots, click farms and compromised social networks confound the issue further. If Facebook is partly responsible for election outcomes, then how should their influence be monitored, regulated or otherwise policed (if at all)? Is this a free speech issue or an equal access issue like TV equal time political coverage laws governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?

We’ll explore these issues and the complex inter-dependencies of modern news, entertainment and advertising  in the pages that follow.

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