Op-Ed: Misleading political TV ads are filling up California’s ‘news deserts’
In California’s “news deserts” — areas without a local TV news outlet, newspapers or TV affiliate — many viewers turn to the Internet and social media to get information about issues they care about. But just because people are getting their information online doesn’t mean political ads like the ones that aired on Channel 7 in the Bay Area last week aren’t hurting them — or the candidates who rely on their support.
“The big question that we have these days is not ‘Are you going to win?’ it’s ‘Are you going to win with the money you’re spending on TV versus the money you’re spending on the Internet?’ ” said Mike Kottke, the president and general counsel of Fair Political Practices Commission.
And it’s an issue that’s only going to get larger as California gets more and more unaffiliated voters and their voices.
“The news deserts, as you would call them, are actually widening,” Kottke told the AP.
“They used to be that they were just a little region of the state, because the media didn’t have a presence in the Bay Area,” Kottke added. “But it started getting more popular over the years.”
In California, political ads may be going up in the “news deserts,” but they’re going up in the right places.
“The online universe is growing exponentially, so that actually makes it hard to find your own audience,” said Kottke, whose group, which oversees political and nonprofit advertising, helps California campaigns with compliance.
“Political advertising needs to have a way of going up in the digital universe. They need to be on social media, they need to be in your newsroom or your community,” he added.
“You have to figure out how do we reach the voters that don’t want to spend time in our newsrooms and don’t want to