Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs
Winning the Vote: Campaign Ad Spending
happy voter
Watch Video
Read Transcript
Comment
January 25, 2008

It's no secret that during the campaign season the candidates are pulling out all the stops — and a lot of cash — in order to win your vote. Indeed, the 2008 campaign season is breaking the record for political advertising — a record set in 2004.

But what are the viewers of these ads really getting from all that advertising?


Consider the stats below:

  • Spending on TV ads 2008: an estimated $2.5 billion. That's two-thirds more than the 1.6 billion they spent in 2004, which set the previous record.

  • The Presidential race will account for at least 1/3 of the total — some $800 million.

  • If you'd watched every single ad that the candidates ran Before the Iowa caucuses it would have taken more than 15 days.

  • Scholars found that local TV news coverage in 2004 spent just 86 seconds on each political story — much less than on weather, sports, and crime. And nearly half of all campaign reporting was of the "horse-race" standings.
Take a journey through campaign ads of the past, learn how to fact-check current ads online and then tell us what's getting your attention this campaign season on the blog.

Campaign Ad History

It appears that your computer does not have the Flash Player required to view the Media Player. Visit Adobe to download and install the latest version of the Flash Player.

Published on January 25, 2008.

Related Media:
IowaLife After Iowa
Campaign analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson on life after Iowa.



YouTubePolitics 2.0
Bill Moyers talks with Kathleen Hall Jamieson about how the Internet has transformed the political campaign in the United States.

OThe "O" Factor
Celebrity slideshow: What's the real power of 'power' endorsements.

References and Reading:
Campaign Ad Spending and Campaign Coverage

The Invisible Primary—invisible No Longer
A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

The State of the News Media, 2007
A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism documenting news coverage in online, print, television and radio, both local and national.

"Dash for cash as Super Tuesday looms," THE AUSTRALIAN, Tom Baldwin and Tim Reid | January 12, 2008

"Political television advertising to reach $3 billion," CNN, October 15, 2007

"After spending in N.H., Iowa, money may be tight," THE BOSTON GLOBE, Brian C. Mooney, January 6, 2008

"TV Stations in New Hampshire, Iowa Cash In on Early-Vote Status," Bloomberg.com, Christopher Stern, December 13, 2007

The Campaign Legal Center
The Campaign Legal Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance and elections, political communication and government ethics. The group monitors campaign advertising on the public airwaves. Policy Director Meredith McGehee and Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert regularly blog on campaign issue news.

Fact Checking the Campaign Ads

FactCheck.org
FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that aims to monitor the accuracy of major national candidates' statements and rhetoric. Veteran journalist Brooks Jackson oversees the election coverage.

The Fact-Checker
Run by veteran journalist Michael Dobbs, The Fact-Checker is a project of the WASHINGTON POST that publishes research evaluating and providing background and context to candidate statements and popular political stories.

Politifact and Truth-0-Meter
Politifact is an extensively cross-referenced, fact-checking resource run as a joint project by the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES and CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY.

"Fact and Fiction on the Campaign Trail," December 2, 2007
THE NEW YORK TIMES' Public Editor Clark Hoyt analyzes the facts behind several high-profile campaign speeches.

History of Campaign Ads

THE 30-SECOND CANDIDATE
This PBS Web site for the Emmy-winning program includes an extensive timeline of television advertising and commentators on the art and science of campaign ad strategy.

The Living Room Candidate
This collection of TV ads from the American Museum of the Moving Image covers the years 1952-2004. Ads are grouped not only by year, but by issue and type of commercial.


Also This Week:

JOHN GRISHAM
Bill Moyers interviews John Grisham, best-selling author of THE FIRM, THE PELICAN BRIEF, and THE RAINMAKER, in a far-ranging conversation that gives viewers insight into the beliefs and background that influenced Grisham's work and provides an unexpected look at his views about the state of the nation.

>Judicial Selection: Find Out Who's Picking Your Judges

>Web Exclusive Video: Grisham on writers and writing

WINNING THE VOTE
A look at another record-breaking cycle in campaign ad spending.

THE DOWNTURN ON THE HOMEFRONT
Sociologist Katherine Newman on the global markets' effect on kitchen table issues.

MOYERS ON THE RHETORIC AND THE REALITY
Bill Moyers compares the rhetoric coming out of Washington with the reality on the ground when it comes to some major issues: the economy, the war, prospects for peace in the Middle East.

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
Our posts and your comments
OUR POSTS
YOUR COMMENTS
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTS EMAIL US