Michael Scherer waxes lyrical at Time’s Swampland blog:
AFP Brings Poetry To Political Boob Tube
Politicians are supposed to campaign in poetry and govern in prose. But political advertising this cycle has been, for the most part, a bunch of PowerPoint presentations overlaid on file photo montages. Grainy shot, voice over, bucolic shot, newspaper quote, statistic, out. They are, for the most part, ugly, predictable and boring. (They are probably effective too.)
Yet here comes Americans for Prosperity, hoping to disrupt the 30-second wasteland with an silent haiku to the emasculation of unemployment in an Ozzie and Harriet household.
Not since the Obama campaign released “Firms,” a spot scored by Mitt Romney’s bad singing, has there been a spot in this cycle that attempts something difficult and creative, and succeeds. I would credit the donors to AFP for their good judgement, but the donors who paid for “The Dinner Table” are anonymous.
Then again, maybe not . . .
As Ads with Mystery Donors Rush Into Politics, Searching Their Wake for Clues
The Sunlight Foundation* has launched Political Ad Sleuth, a project to track and help contribute to a database detailing money spent on political ads this election year.
The initial source of the documents in the database comes from around 200 local stations’ “political files” — tranches, mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, of data on all the political ads bought at each station and at what price. Those 200 stations in the 50 largest television markets in the country were required to hand over those datasets beginning earlier this year to be posted online.
Sunlight worked with Free Press, journalists, journalism students and other volunteers across the country to make those files easier to search, as Kathy Kiely and Jake Harper from Sunlight outline in a blog post.
In its blog post, Sunlight also emphasizes the potential of the project to help reveal the individuals involved in many of the third-party groups running ads. Per the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, Sunlight explains, so-called social welfare organizations can spend unlimited amounts of money without registering with the Federal Elections Commission. But those groups still have to identify an officer of their group when they buy ads on local TV stations.
So maybe this initiative, and others like Pro Publica’s Free the Files effort, can unmask the Mystery Donors.
But don’t expect it to change anything.