Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I think Pete Ashdown's recent post on technology and Simon J's problem with KCRW's online stream are probably related.


Anonymous jeff said...

How do you take such an important issue, but one that seems so incomprehensible to the 90% of the American Population, and make it a tasty issue, that make the ignorant masses pay attention?

How do you make it "sexy" enough to get the media to pay attention, but still retain the importance of the core facts? The battle that Pete faces is one of media vs. media cost. Utah media outlets, so very consumed with the necromancy of fatal car crashes and building fires, will not grant the boon of legitimacy to any candidate that does not spend advertising money by the truck load.

A long term view of Utah, and national, media shows the pattern of “pay to play” in startling luminosity. Take 2004 as an example.

Paul Van Dam was clearly the brightest of last year’s political candidates, yet; again, due to Matheson saturation and an allergy to taking special interest and/or corporate money, Van Dam was hamstrung by the media and marginalized to a single issue campaign on Nuclear Testing. This issue should have been enough, by itself, to allow Van Dam to fund raise on a massive scale, but, alas, he was wholly and unfairly marginalized by the Utah media because Democrats are cash strapped in Utah.

Beau Babka had a concrete platform with 17 clearly defined issues, goals and plans, yet was unable to break the immigration news cycle because he couldn’t afford to pay for the media that would fight Cannon. Much of this disparity can be clearly attributed to both incumbency and special interest money that granted Cannon financial access to massive funds from out of state, while Babka was stuck trying to fund raise in a state that was financially exhausted by it’s monetary support of the Brothers Matheson. No money, no message.

Scott Matheson, Jr., on the other hand, is an example of being able to compete in a pay to play environment. Beloved son of a beloved former governor, Matheson had the ability for early fundraising, and rose to point where, among other very important things, he could afford a fundraising staff. Matheson Jr. bought TV and radio spots and, not a surprise; he was afforded legitimacy by the statewide papers, radio and television stations.

Now, often in contradiction, NPR and Community Radio do their best to fight for monetary equality, but, again, 2004 showed that a moneyed candidate appeared on public stations almost 6 – 1 compared to the poor candidates. Compare that to the more than 30 – 1 on mainstream media, and it doesn’t look as bad, but it’s still pretty heavy.

Ashdown’s campaign is getting BLOG coverage all over the United States, Netizens are praising his efforts, his innovation and his iron fisted grasp of the “sexy” issues that will be the “crisis issues” of the next decade and yet, sadly, his fundraising is still at a trickle, and not at all for lack of effort. So, really, if people continue to worship Pete’s campaign with words, and not dollars, then how can we, the people who actually understand and support his issues expect Pete to poll out of the lower teens?

12/13/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous jem said...

To Jeff: Very interesting analysis. I have long known of media bias, but this was a new angle. In regards to Pete's fundraising problems - it seems that given the positives you have mentioned, he should be able to raise a massive amount within the Democrat party. Is this happening? If not, why not? Are the Democrats stuck in the same mind set "no one can beat Hatch"? Pete will need Republican votes, that's a given. But he probably won't get any Republican money until the Democrats have contributed handily to his war chest. Your opinion please?

12/13/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jem, please refer your question to the McCain - Feingold Incumbant Protection
Act. You'll see where the hands are tied. It's voters, not parties, that make the money go around.

12/13/2005 09:32:00 PM  

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