Blog

Wesleyan Media Project Launches
New Website on Attack Ads

(MIDDLETOWN, CT) October 29, 2014 – Interest group advertising in U.S. Senate campaigns is at an all-time high, and advertising from dark money groups is breaking records.  America’s airwaves are filled with much more negativity than they were a decade ago.  AttackAds.org, a new initiative from the Wesleyan Media Project, launches today.  The initiative, made possible by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, includes an educational website, a parody ad about negativity and unknown group sponsors, and a short documentary that defines attack advertising, highlights trends in its use and explains its link to dark money. …
Wesleyan Media Project
October 29, 2014
Blog

What Matters With Negativity is Timing

There is a lot of talk about negativity in elections, and as measured by Wesleyan Media Project (and Wisconsin Advertising Project) coding, there is much more of it on the airwaves than there was a decade ago.  Yanna Krupnikov (Stony Brook University) writes for us on the effects of negativity and why timing is everything.   On September 30, 2014, Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate running for Governor of New York, aired an ad designed to warn voters about his opponent’s questionable ethics.  Astorino’s ad was a “remake” of Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 “Daisy Girl Ad,” and used identical imagery to…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 22, 2014
Blog

Why We Should Care About Dark Money Ads

As part of our ongoing focus on interest group advertising and dark money in elections, we are pleased to welcome our first guest post by Conor Dowling (University of Mississippi) and Amber Wichowsky (Marquette University).   Total outside group spending in federal elections with no disclosure of donors saw a 60-fold increase between 2006 ($5.17 million) and 2012 ($310.8 million). This “dark money” can in large part be explained by increased spending by nondisclosing entities—particularly 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups that are not required to disclose the identities of their donors as long as their primary purpose is not “political.” In…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 16, 2014
2014 ElectionsReleases

Ad spending in 2014 elections poised to break $1 billion

Democrats Hold Slight Lead in Senate Advertising; Interest Groups Account for 40 Percent Senate Airings This Cycle, All-time High   (MIDDLETOWN, CT) October 14, 2014 – Just three weeks out from Election Day 2014, Democrats hold a very slight advantage in the most competitive Senate races. In 10 of the 15 Senate races with the highest volume of advertising, more ads favoring Democrats than ads favoring Republicans aired between September 26 and October 9 (Table 1). Table 1: Ad Volume and Spending in Top Senate Races Republicans continue to be more reliant on outside group advertising than Democrats. In 13…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 14, 2014