The presidential election is 14 months away and with as many as 17 candidates now running, U.S. television and radio broadcasters are elated at the prospect of billions more in advertising dollars...
Wall Street analysts predict television stations alone could bring in a record $2 billion to $3 billion from the 2008 election cycle, up from $1.6 billion in 2006 and $900 million in 2004. Companies expected to benefit include CBS Corp., Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. and Meredith Corp., with the latter two particularly seen benefiting in the early voting states.
The candidates have to start campaigning earlier to raise enough money to compete. The earlier campaigning means they spend more money. It's a vicious circle.
Raising all that money makes the candidates beholden to their contributors, and to the ever-increasing number of lobbyists and special interests. This, in turn, taints those who win, with the lobbyists and special interests making sure to call in their favors when it's time to govern.
It's all about the money. Cut the money out of the process, and you get cleaner government, less campaigning, and shorter election cycles.
The problem is, who makes all that money? Big media companies do. And if we cut the money out of the process, they stand to lose enormous amounts of revenues and profits. So you don't see big media companies pushing for election reform. No sir, you don't. It's not in their best interests.
It is in the interests of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CNN to prolong the election cycle. The longer the election cycle, the more money they make. So why not drum up false stories and suspense as early as possible? There's big money in it.
A shorter election cycle would be a good thing. Elections without billions spent on television, radio, and newspaper advertising would be a good thing. Politicians who didn't have to spend all their time raising money -- and then taking orders from donors and lobbyists -- would be a good thing. But the media isn't interested in a good thing, they're interested in their own profits.
And that's why we'll never have significant election reform. Hell, you'll never even hear about any such efforts; the media simply won't report them.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.