Tuning in to the Void

The Wisconsin Advertising Project estimates that "many voters - nearly 60 percent - have not been exposed to any of the 530,000 campaign ads aired so far in the most expensive presidential campaign ever." A companion project researching local TV news "found only 44 percent of local stations offer[ed] any campaign coverage at all in the 2002 elections. Most of this involved horse-race babble crammed into the final days." In 2000, "there were almost four times as many local campaign ads as political stories. Perversely, one study found there's more useful and engaging information in a political ad - particularly a negative ad - than in a local campaign story."