I don’t think they’re thinking about it too much, really. After all, most of their time and money seems to be taken up with which TV stations to put ads on, how often, and during which shows. That’s clear if you go to these 10 Montana TV stations and look at what Steve Daines and John Walsh are spending on political TV ads:
- KULR-TV Billings (NBC);
- KRTV Great Falls (CBS);
- KTVH Great Falls/Helena (NBC);
- KBZK Bozeman (CBS);
- KPAX-TV Missoula (CBS)
- KECI-TV Missoula (NBC);
- KXLF-TV Butte (CBS);
- KYUS-TV Miles City (NBC);
- KXGN-TV Glendive (CBS);
- KHMT Hardin (FOX);
The folders for KYUS in Miles City and KXGN in Glendive are currently empty, which probably means that the candidates haven’t spent any money there…yet. Perhaps those markets are too small, or get spillover from the larger stations.
You’ll also notice that lone Fox station in Hardin and that CW station in Helena I’ve put up. I’m sure there are more like that in the state, but I’m going off this Wikipedia list of TV Stations in Montana. Mainly I’m finding things we can compare and contrast.
For instance, I’d expect Walsh to spend little on that Fox station while seeing Daines spend some. But if Daines spent a lot there, wouldn’t that show he’s rather insecure in the race, at least with his base? Or are there a lot of liberals around Hardin watching Fox News?
The same goes for the TV stations in Missoula. Before the primary we’d expect to see Walsh spend princely sums there in his bid to defeat Adams and Bohlinger. Now that he’s accomplished that, however, are such lavish sums still necessary? I mean, how many votes is Daines looking to pick up in this ‘Berkeley of the West?’
Those are two examples of where you can see the cracks in the campaign’s armor begin to appear. With the poll yesterday showing Daines down 7 points and Walsh up 4 points you might be able to look at some of these TV ad buys to figure out the next strategic move, and perhaps even days or weeks in advance. If I’m an analyst for my candidate you know I’d want that information.
So what does that information tell us today? Let’s compare both Walsh and Daines a bit today, and their spending at KULR in Billings, an NBC station.
KULR Montana NBC Political TV Ads in Billings
TV stations were under no obligation to show this information and you know candidates didn’t want it to leak out. That all changed with the FCC online political ad disclosure rule, a regulation that was passed in April, 2012. That said citizens had a right to this and TV stations had to list it. I’m sure there were a lot of groans at the networks in New York over that one.
But it gives us what we have now, great little bits and pieces to this puzzle we call political corruption in America. By seeing what candidates are spending and in such huge sums during the TV shows we know and love…well gosh, they’ve just handed us the weapon we need to defeat them.
Now you’ve just got to get in there and find the details, such as this one here:
Beneath that you can see Millionaire, which I assume is “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Daines is going for those entrepreneurial folks to the tune of $80, or 4 ads over 30 minutes once a day for 4 days. Obviously that show must not be as popular as the Today Show, but Daines is counting on some old and gullible folks to be sitting down for their lunch with the hankering for some trivia. Yep, he’s got ‘em.
Let’s move on to Walsh in the same market.
John Walsh simply doesn’t give us as much to go on. His last invoice was uploaded on June 30, nearly a month ago. We’ll take a look at it nonetheless to see if we can learn anything, which seems likely from this first ad:
It’s already starting to get pricier for these two candidates. Spots on the 10 PM News are going for $200 a pop and Daines has spent $1,000 on that just this week.
Another question is why on earth does it cost $200 or $275 to advertise at that time? I don’t know, demand again? Are there a lot of local businesses trying to sell us stuff each night at $275 a pop? I find that hard to believe. This is worrisome, especially since we know these amounts will only go up as the TV stations’ greed soars to ever higher levels. Sorry, I meant to say demand.
So how much money are Montana politicians spending on TV ads? How much money does John Walsh spend on TV advertising? How much money does Steve Daines Spend on TV advertising?
No, they’re not just rhetorical questions, but also ways for Google to pick this article up and ensure people searching for just that will find their answers. For I know when middle-aged folks sitting around with nothing to do discover how many ads are run and on what programs and at what times and with what frequency…I know they won’t like it. And I know that they’ll get angry. And I know that they’ll have less of an opinion of these two men and that will force those two men and their campaign handlers to change their tactics.
That all supposes that Walsh and Daines give a damn what you think, however, and I don’t think they do. I’m not sure they’d care if you were angry at the number of ads they ran or how much they cost because you can see it on the TV right now and you’re angry and they could care less. In fact, they’re so unconcerned about your feelings and concerns that they’re not only going to continue with these policies that anger you, they’re going to ramp them up.
Right now it’s the tail-end of July. If they’re already running four ads during the same 30-minute news broadcast do you really think you’re going to want to even watch the news come September or October or God forbid, November? I feel sorry for you if you do…but they don’t.
They don’t feel much of anything for you, just staying as far away from you as possible while bombarding you with their message. And what a message it is. If it’s not an attack it’s a threat or a promise or just another guy talking about themselves endlessly, you know, the kind you usually try to scoot away from at parties.
Oh boy, what a sorry state of conditions it is in Montana this summer.
And don’t forget about the most troubling thing of all, and that’s the fact that outside groups don’t have to disclose what they spend on TV ads in Montana. Yep, all that swift boating and name calling and paid for by supporters of this asshole and that schmuck…they don’t have to tell you a damn thing.
Could that be why ‘demand’ is going up, because these outside groups are driving it up with their ads, forcing candidates to spend more of your donations as a result? How convenient for those New York TV stations!
What really gets me is the complicity of the TV stations in this level of corruption. The amount of money flowing into those regional TV stations’ coffers is immense. But don’t think for a second that most of that is staying there. By far the largest amount of those dollars spent by the two campaigns will be going right to National. And that means the majority of your $5 political donations are going right to New York and that liberal media you hate so much.
Yeah, Republicans can howl and whine to the heavens on their talk radio stations about the liberal media and its supposed biases, but they sure love feeding it money. And few are as good at feeding it money as Steve Daines.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s studied Montana history, however. Whether it was the fur trappers catering to fashion demands, Gilded Age robber barons taking advantage of us in Wall Street’s name, or deregulated utility companies doing the same a century later, Montana has always been pulled by New York strings.