The second edition of Political Advertising in the United States, written by the Wesleyan Media Project’s co-directors, has been released.
The book, by Erika Franklin Fowler, Michael M. Franz and Travis N. Ridout, examines the volume, distribution, content, and effects of political advertising in congressional and presidential elections. The book considers the role of television ads using extensive data on ad airings on local broadcast stations. It also analyzes newly available data on paid digital ads, including ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube. The book covers the role of outside groups in airing ads, including the rise of dark money groups and gaps in existing federal campaign finance laws around transparency of outside group spending. The authors consider how ad sponsors design and target ads. They also review the positive and negative implications of an electoral system where billions are spent on paid advertising.
The second edition of the book will be a valuable resource for journalists, citizens, students and practitioners. It has been updated to include data from 2018 and 2020 campaigns. In addition, the book includes expanded discussion of digital political advertising, incorporating the topic into each chapter. The update also discusses race and gender in advertising, including what is known about the way in which advertising may activate prejudicial attitudes.