Who Wins Every Election Cycle? The Cable Company.
Last week, I found myself wondering who really benefits from the many millions of dollars that are raised and spent by super PACs. For the most part, I’ve assumed it was the candidates, their parties, and the special interest groups who fund these enterprises.
You know, an interest group gives money to a super PAC. The super PAC spends money (indirectly) promoting a candidate or party platform. The candidate gets elected and makes decisions in favor of the interest group’s priorities. Rinse and repeat.
But step back for a moment. Think of how these dollars are spent. Election cycles increasingly bring in ungodly amounts of advertising dollars. The Wall Street Journal reported that for the 2012 elections, super PACs spent more than half a billion dollars. That’s in addition to the millions spent by the candidates and parties themselves.
Clearly, the influence of super PACs on our political system is very troubling. But perhaps there is another middleman – aside from super PACs – about whom we need to be concerned.
The sheer amount of money being spent on campaign ads gives cable companies and broadcast networks major skin in the game. They have a lot to gain from the campaign season and from the unabashed use of super PAC dollars to influence politics.
Last Saturday, Matea Gold of the Washington Post wrote about the Democrats’ increasing reliance on super PAC fundraising. She reported that the board for Priorities USA, a key Democratic super PAC, now includes an executive from Viacom, as well as a lobbyist for Comcast. Interesting.
In the world of super PAC haters, the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson are low hanging fruit. It’s really easy to demonize them for using their mega wealth to influence politics. But what about the television networks that accept this money and run these ads? They, too, deserve our scorn, as they are perpetuating this revolting trend.
Like bookies who take bets on dog fights. They may not own the dogs, but they’re still culpable for the harm.
Follow me on Twitter at Patience Burke@TameTheGorilla.