Low road/high road issue spotlighted in NC


A typical political campaign fills its war chest with cash from hard donations that can be used at its discretion. Organizations unaffiliated with the campaign can spend as well, but since there may be overlapping donors, there can be no coordination between the candidate and the outside supporters. The result can be friction, as is the case these days in North Carolina.

The ad in question comes from the North Carolina Republican Party, and attacks Barack Obama (D-IL) by focusing on Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. McCain said he asked that the ad be pulled, telling reporters “Obviously, I don’t control them, but I’m making it very clear…that there’s no place for that kind of campaigning, and the American people don’t want it.”

Obama stated, "My understanding is that the Republican National Committee and John McCain have both said that the ad’s inappropriate. I take them at their word, and I assume that if John McCain thinks that it’s an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down since he is their nominee and standard-bearer."

McCain is said to have emailed requests to have broadcasts of the ad stopped, but apparently that request has not been honored. That in turn has opened up a DNC line of attack on McCain – Democrats wonder how he can control the nation if he can’t even control surrogates within his own party.

RBR/TVBR observation: There figures to be a ton of money coming from unaffiliated organizations with various and sundry axes to grind. This will be particularly true since McCain’s own McCain-Feingold bill took a hit as the Supreme Court in the Wisconsin Right to Life case, which gives “issue” organizations broad discretion to put out messages that avoid advocating for one candidate or another – but which can harm one or the other by splashing them implicitly with the “issue” message.

These messages can be helpful — especially when they trumpet negative messages about an opponent while allowing the candidate to remain, or seem to remain, above the fray. Or they can backfire.

From a broadcast perspective,  although you may find yourself airing material you profoundly disagree with, the messages are certainly good for business. But even there, an overloaded seasonal political barrage can damage relationships with year-round clients. Although that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue this year.