Thursday, June 21, 2012

Money Changes Everything


Example #12,742,535 how money wins in politics: here's a great piece in the NY Times today pointing out how the disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act was aided by a huge spending advantage, roughly $235M in ads against it vs. only $69M spent on ads in favor of it.

That success may stem in large part from more than $200 million in advertising spending by an array of conservative groups, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($27 million) to Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS ($18 million), which includes the billionaire Sheldon Adelson among its donors, and the American Action Network ($9 million), founded by Fred V. Malek, an investor and prominent Republican fund-raiser.
Only $69 million has been spent on advertising supporting it. Just $700,000 of that comes from the Obama campaign, and none of its ads mentioning the law are currently being broadcast, said Elizabeth Wilner, vice president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group.
In contrast, most advertising spending in support of the law has come from the Department of Health and Human Services. Appearing mostly on national and cable networks, the agency’s ads are bland, explaining aspects of the law.
A law that was about 50/50 approve/disapprove when it was passed is only going to get more unpopular when the spending for ads in favor of it is almost a 4 to 1 disparity. Perhaps, the Democrats and their donors should have taken advantage of the Citizens United ruling in 2010 to build more support for the law.

Related: here's an excellent story by the New Republic's Alec MacGillis highlighting the effect of this misinformation. Many people who would benefit greatly from the law, either didn't realize such a law was even passed, or if they were aware, they had no idea it would help them. This seriously was the best thing I've read all week, so check it out!

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