Story posted January 03, 2008
Michael Franz, Assistant Professor of Government and co-author of Campaign Advertising and American Democracy (Temple University Press, 2007) discussed the book against the backdrop of the 2008 primaries on WCSH's 207 and on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
Franz appeared on 207 on Monday, Jan. 7, 2008; his interview with MPBN ran on Friday, Jan. 4, 2008.
It has been estimated that more than three million political ads were televised leading up to the elections of 2004. More than $800 million was spent on television ads in the race for the White House alone, and presidential candidates, along with their party and interest group allies, broadcast more than a million ads — more than twice the number aired before the 2000 elections.
What were the consequences of this barrage of advertising? Were viewers turned off by political advertising to the extent that it dissuaded them from voting, as some critics suggest? Did they feel more connected to political issues and the political system, or were they alienated? These are the questions Campaign Advertising and American Democracy answers, based on a unique, robust and extensive database dedicated to political advertising.
Confronting prevailing opinion, the carefully researched work Professor Franz and that of his co-authors, Paul B. Freedman, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia; Kenneth M. Goldstein, Professor of Political Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project; and Travis N. Ridout, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Washington State University, finds that political ads may actually educate, engage and mobilize American voters. Their research found that only in the rarest of circumstances do political spots have negative impacts.
207 airs at 7 p.m. on WCSH (Channel 6). The radio stations of MPBN include WMEA (90.1 FM).