Electile Dysfunction 2010

vote toilet If you’ve subjected yourself to television in the United States within the last several months, you already know this.  But it bears quoting, if only to create a record of the hurtling, heedless decline of this market-totalitarian society.  From Advertising Age for November 1, 2010:

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Another election cycle, another year of bitter partisan bickering [ed: exclusively over cynical claims and phony distinctions], another record-breaking mountain of cash spent on political advertising — all of which add up to tight inventory for local TV affiliates. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, ad spending this season will top $3 billion. Borrell Associates has predicted spending will get as high as $4.2 billion this year.

We’ve come to expect steadily increasing ad outlays in political election cycles, but this year is different.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Evan Tracey, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Aside from issues of anti-incumbency fervor and Tea Party madness, “the big difference in this election is the Citizens United impact,” he said, but not necessarily because major corporations are funneling more cash into the system. Rather, last spring’s Supreme Court ruling that upended many of the former restrictions on political advertising has given political ad groups more time to spend, and increased fundraising firepower.

Gone are the rules barring such advertising 60 days out from an election, meaning two full months of more spending for [groups with huge amounts of cash].

Here is another example of why ceding the mass media environment to “the private sector” is poison to democracy and society. How much do national and local media outlets love this trend? As “the electoral process” asymptotically approaches complete decline into Coke versus Pepsi land, as welfare-state-hating candibot Tweedledum attacks ashamed, pseudo-liberal candibot Tweedledee for cutting Medicare while candibot Tweedledee is busy crowing about giving “entrepreneurs” more tax cuts, and as real problems become ever more undiscussable, both the cash register and the wall of sponsored hooey ring louder and louder.

Orwell and Huxley would be out of work these days. Dystopian fiction has little left to invent.

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Sean G
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“Orwell and Huxley would be out of work these days. Dystopian fiction has little left to invent.” Very well said. What really scares me is this is just a midterm election, and I imagine just a testing ground for corporations flexing their post-Citizens United muscles. I shudder to think of the impact in 2012 when corporations and astroturfs will have had two full years with a green fundraising light. I’ve been television free for several years and thus insulated from the worst of advertising, but the internet lately has been catching up more and more when it comes to ad… Read more »

Luis Cayetano
Guest

Have you read any of the works of Erich Fromm, Michael? In particular, The Sane Society, in which he outlines a type of society in the 1950s that is eerily like the one you regularly describe on this site. Fromm clearly saw how market totalitarianism could evolve into something like its current menace, and how 1950s America was already looking like a dystopia. Unfortunately, it seems that none of his recommendations have been attempted. Things seem, in many ways, to have gotten even worse, often to ridiculous extremes. In case you haven’t heard of or read Fromm, this will give… Read more »

Michael Dawson
Guest

Fromm is fantastic, one of my favorites, and that book is his magnum opus.

He is far and away the best and most lasting of the Frankfurt Schoolers, despite the pomo fetish for the patrician dabblers Adorno and Horkheimer.

Thanks for the video link!

Michael Dawson
Guest

P.S. Fromm on ABC! That is an wild impossibility now.

I’m going to post on this, in fact.