THE 30 SECOND CANDIDATE HISTORICAL TIMELINEFROM IDEA TO ADTRICKS OF THE TRADEQ_AND_ATHE TELEVISION PROGRAM
Wisconsin Public Television
     

         
1998  
   
   

In the California Democratic primary race for Governor, wealthy candidates Al Checchi and Jane Harman spent unprecedented sums on television advertising.

When Checchi and Harman attacked each other in ads, voters turned to the third candidate, Lt. Governor Gray Davis.

Also in California, candidates Lois Capps and Tom Bordanaro competed in a special election for a House seat from the Santa Barbara area. The candidates' ads competed for attention with ads produced by outside interest groups. Pro-life, pro-choice, and congressional term limits supporters all used advertising to get their issues before the voters and influence the election.

   
       
   


READ THE EXPERTS' ANALYSIS OF WHAT HAPPENED IN CALIFORNIA

Alex Castellanos
Jeff Greenfield
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Bob Squier

 

   
   
SQUIER: Well there are no generalizations to be drawn from almost any campaigns. I think the overuse of media in that campaign probably was one of the things you could, you could look at it. They would put a spot on the air and leave it on for two or three weeks, and I think wear out its welcome.

So the sense of sometimes you get in a situation where once you've made your point, to continue making it over and over and over again eventually wears out your welcome. It's almost as if the person is proposing to a woman and he says, you know, "You're wonderful, you're beautiful, I want to marry you," and she says, "Well that's very interesting," you know, "what else have you got to say?" And he says "You're wonderful, you're beautiful, I wanna," well after he said that about ten times, she's ready to call the police.

In media, often, especially in political media, there's a tendency to overwhelm the audience with a single spot rather than unfold a story by continuing to tell the different bits and pieces of the story you have to tell through different advertising.


Q: In Al Checchi's case, though, would it be almost more akin to someone trying to divorce people all the time given the sort of negative spots that he ran?

SQUIER: Well, I think he had problems early on with his positive media. I think once he got to the engagement part of the campaign, I think he had a failed strategy. He thought that he could attack one opponent and that somehow the votes would either go into "Undecided" or would come back to him. I think most people in that same circumstance would say, "Well, what about Gray Davis? He's a perfectly acceptable recipient of the votes," and of course, that's exactly what turned out to be the case.

   

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