EDITORIAL: Politics on the tube: A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to one candidate is a bad idea
Aug 10, 2012 (The Anniston Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In election years, political advertisements in Alabama are as ubiquitous as springtime pollen. They often are cliched, misleading and follow the same tried-and-true formats of past campaigns. New ground is rarely broken.
It's about eyeballs and messages: Candidates want their names and faces seen -- on street signs, in newspaper ads, in television spots and at local events. Name recognition is priceless on Election Day. Candidates also want their message delivered for voters who actually take the time to research those on the ballot.
We're thankful for that.
With that thought in mind, we call your attention to Hawaii, where Republican Linda Lingle, the state's former governor, is running for the U.S. Senate. Hawaii's political culture is a bit different because of its geography, its location and its multicultural population. It also has a lengthy history of supporting Democrats, which makes Lingle's Senate bid all the more difficult.
Lingle, though, is bucking the time-worn system of paying for expensive television advertising. She's upped the ante and created her own digital cable-television station in Hawaii whose programming -- wait for it -- is supplied by her campaign.
In other words, station LL12 in Hawaii will soon carry nothing but Linda Lingle-related shows: speeches, advertisements, endorsements, forums and testimonials, the New York Times reported Thursday. As fate would have it, Lingle's LL12 is Channel 110 on Oceanic Time Warner Cable, the provider that reaches 95 percent of that market. The station is also costing the Lingle campaign only $2,500 a week -- a mild price tag for Lingle's campaign manager.
Better yet is LL12's placement. Channel 110 sits between CNN Headline News and Fox News on Hawaii's cable lineup, which makes it all-too convenient for Hawaiian viewers to get a never-ending fill of the GOP candidate.
Lingle's station-building strategy may prove to be a boon to her campaign, but more so it's yet another example of the influence of deep pockets in political advertising. Lingle's campaign is well funded, The Times said, which makes it possible for the Senate candidate to even consider such an idea. Whether the radical approach works or not is an entirely separate matter.
"She's got the money. It doesn't cost all that much. And like a lot of things in a campaign, if you're not sure how effective it is, you just go ahead and do it," Neal Milner, a retired political science professor at the University of Hawaii, told The Times.
We're not too eager for Alabama's best-funded candidates to give this method of campaigning a try. A 24-hour cycle of candidate talking points and canned speeches would be unattractive. We suspect substance would be in short supply.
It is Alabama politics, after all.
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