Buying Time -- 2008
Leading up to the November 2008 election, the Brennan Center is releasing real-time reports on television advertising in state Supreme Court elections. The 2008 reports continue the groundbreaking analysis first conducted in 2000 examining the sponsorship, content and costs of televised state Supreme Court campaign ads. Analyses of advertising over four cycles has culminated in four reports, The New Politics of Judicial Elections, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2002, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2004, and The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2006. These studies document the growing threats to fair and impartial courts from big money, special interest pressure, and television air wars.
All of this year's advertisements are available for viewing on the web and as storyboards. The storyboards contain screen captures of the ads at timed intervals, along with complete text. TV ads and storyboards are provided by the Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG). Findings from this year's study will be featured in an upcoming 2008 report.
The Brennan Centers analyses of television advertising in state Supreme Court elections use data obtained from a commercial firm that records each ad via satellite. The firm provides information about the location, dates, frequency, and estimated costs of each ad. Brennan Center researchers use the storyboards video captures of the ad at four-second intervals, with complete audio text to code the ads, documenting the content, tone, and other relevant information. Cost estimates are revised by the firm when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported costs. The calculation does not include the costs of design and production, so cost estimates substantially understate the actual cost of advertising.