The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Columns

October 20, 2012

Ojanpa: It’s ad nauseum beat down time

— Just keep repeating to yourself: It will all be over soon..._And if that doesn’t ease your pain, keep telling yourself this: At least I don’t live in Ohio.

We’re talking election ads on TV, that tsunami of misery that won’t let up until you go to the polls and vote for your favorite fibber or for whether Jack can marry Jerome someday.

And if you live in a so-called swing state such as Ohio those ads are pounding you even more. 

On Monday night Cleveland viewers of the ABC affiliate saw 46 political ads from 8-11 p.m. So much for laws prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

The presidential campaigns are pouring tons of money into Ohio and seven other states likely to determine that election’s outcome. Nationwide, the campaigns and special interest groups with pockets deeper than Titanic’s corpse will spend about $1.1 billion on TV ads this year, which is as obscene as it is folly because the number of minds they’ll change will be insignificant.

If you don’t know the difference between Romney and Obama by now stop on by. I have some Death Valley beachfront property to sell you.

In other words, the campaigns will spend $1.1 billion trying to woo the nation’s 16 undecided voters. Comic Lewis Black has a better idea: Go knock on their damn doors and leave the rest of us out of it.

Irksome political ads are nothing new, of course. We’ve been getting TV remote control thumb callouses for decades trying to zap past that swill.

But with each election cycle the critical mass of those ads mutates larger and more insidiously. When your 3-year-old granddaughter goes from saying “I want some candy corn” to “I approve this message,” that’s a problem. 

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