Sunday, November 07, 2010

Election Day Fallout

Now that the election's over (and my head's had a chance to clear), I'd like to talk about an unfortunate side-effect of the process (and no, this isn't about actual results). I'd like to know if others acorss the country experienced something similar this election cycle.

I live in the 7th District of Virginia, where our House of Representatives race was between Eric Cantor (R), Rick Waugh, (D), and Floyd Bayne (I). Comcast, our local cable provider is located in the next town over, also located in the 7th District.

The biggest city in the area is Charlottesville, which is located in the 5th District. That was the battle ground of both parties, where Tom Perriello (D) fought to keep his seat against Richard Hurt (R). In addition to both local campaigns taking out ads, both national parties did so too, as well as many special interest groups, political actuion committees, and even some asstro-turf movements.

Our local cable provider uses the Charlottesville stations for its ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox feeds. Which meant I saw back-to-back-to-back-to back political ads for/against Perriello or Hurt. I didn't mind too much -- all of those ads were just part of what was being broadcast in Charlottesville.

Now the local Comcast provider, like others throughout the country, has the option of preempting ads on the cable channels to insert locally produced commercials. I expected to see some ads from either the Cantor or Waugh campaigns on those channels. No dice. All available slots were taken up with Perrirello and Hurt ads. So even on Scy-Fi, AMC, the Food Network, and TNT I was subjected to two or three of these 5th District ads at a time.

I never did see any ads for the candidates running in my district. And since our local news comes from Charlottesville, I never heard anything about the 7th District campaign on any station that Comcast provided.

Of course, I did my own research through the Internet, and tried to use other news sources from Richmond to find out what was going on. But I wonder: how many people still rely almost exclusively on TV for their information. And how many ented the polls in my district and saw the roster of candidates for the first time?

Did it make a difference in the results? Probably not. Cantor was pretty much a shoe-in. But would the race have been closer? Hard to say. The only information Comcast chose to give me was for a race I had no vote in. Now how does that serve the local customer?

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