November 1, 2010

THE PLUPERFECT SYMBOL OF A VANITY CANDIDACY:

O'Donnell has trouble airing 30-minute TV ad in Delaware (Philip Rucker, 11/01/10, Washington Post)

Christine O'Donnell is taking a page from the playbook of Barack Obama. The Republican Senate candidate has produced a 30-minute television advertisement in the form of a documentary chronicling her connection with the people of Delaware.

But unlike Obama's ad at the end of the 2008 race, the tea party insurgent's campaign has run into obstacles getting it in front of voters before Election Day. The campaign did not purchase advance time on networks in the Philadelphia or Delaware markets, said a source close to the O'Donnell campaign, and the networks did not have time available to air the ad on such short notice.

So O'Donnell turned to a public access television station, Delaware Channel 28.


Which reminds us of one of the great moments in American politics:
1957: Using TV and Fooling Forbes

The first governor to recognize the power of television, Democrat Robert Meyner showed he could use the brand new medium for political trickery in his re-election bid. In the 1950s, gubernatorial candidates could easily buy up hours of time for what amounted to marathon infomercials called "telethons." Facing Republican Malcolm Forbes -- yes, that Malcolm Forbes -- Meyner announced he would stage a telethon. "Forbes put out the publicity that he would go on with a telethon of his own when I left the air," Meyner recalled in a 1988 interview. "But I wasn't going to give him any of my audience. So we worked out a plan by which I summarized and made my plea for votes. And then we played 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and had the flag flying." Those old enough to be Baby Boomers understand what happened next: Many believed the station had signed off the air for the evening and turned their TVs off. Meyner, who won the race, still enjoyed the moment decades later: "We went back to the studio and Forbes was there. He said, 'That's the most dastardly trick I've ever encountered in my life.' "


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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 1, 2010 11:16 AM
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