CRP Blog

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Technology Making Some Campaign Rules Obsolete

I'll have a longer article on this shortly, but here's an important dynamic we're seeing in the 2008 campaign.

Political campaigns are about communications, and the technological revolution we're experiencing now is having a dramatic impact on how we wage those campaigns, and campaign rules can't keep up.

Here's just one example: The anti-Hillary ad that mimics Apple's famous "1984" Macintosh ad has, as of this morning, been viewed 3.5 million times on YouTube. No discliamer. No "I'm somebodyorother and I approved this message." "No 'Paid for by..." text at the bottom. Nothing. Over 3 million people have seen it, yet because it's not "broadcast" (an increasingly meaningless term), the disclaimer rules don't apply.

By comparison, a cheap-o ad naming a federal candidate that runs one time on cable and is viewed by six insomniacs at 3 AM on a Wednesday night would have to be paid for with federal funds, from a federal committee, filing with the FEC, and feature the whole litany of disclaimers, disclosures, and other rules if during the federal election campaign period, etc.

The ad seen by 3 million people, no rules. The ad seen on "broadcast" TV by a few people at 3 AM: all kinds of rules apply.

To see the anti-Hillary ad I mentioned, click here. Very clever.

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