For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Natalia Kennedy, 212 998–6736
Jesse Rutledge, Justice at Stake, 202 588–9454
With Alito Confirmation Hearings on Horizon, Gap in Interest Group TV Spending Narrows
New TV spot from Progress for America pushes back on liberal claims
Washington, DC A coalition of liberal interest groups working to defeat the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court has sharply stepped up their television advertising campaigns in Maine and Rhode Island in recent weeks. In doing so they have closed what was once a wide gap in total spending on television airtime relative to their conservative peers who back Alitos nomination. Combined the groups have now spent just under $650,000, with conservative spending accounting for 54 cents of every television advertising dollar, compared to 46 cents for the liberal groups, according to records compiled through December 20. The data comes from new statistics released by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Justice at Stake Campaign.
Progress for America, the sole conservative sponsor of nationally broadcast pro-Alito TV ads to date, issued a new television spot on December 13 that rebutted the IndependentCourt.org ad, which is running in heavy rotation in Maine and Rhode Island: Despite winning bipartisan praise, some liberals still launch untrue attacks, Progress for America says in its news ad, which it ran on national cable television. IndependentCourt.org * a whos who of liberal interest groups * also debuted a radio advertising campaign in Rhode Island and Maine on December 19, according to information posted on its website.
Ads can be meaningful if they inform viewers about what is at stake with this nomination, said Deborah Goldberg, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Attacks by one interest group on another do little to educate the public or to build confidence in the judiciary.
With the air wars growing tighter, and the hearings approaching, were on the verge of an explosion of interest group pressure after the holidays, including TV, radio, newspaper and internet-based advertising, said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign.
The data for the project is gathered by TNS-Media Intelligence/CMAG, which tracks the nations top 100 broadcast markets and national cable advertising and provides estimates on the cost of each TV spot. Data and previous releases, as well as storyboards and streaming video of ads available to date, are available on brennancenter.org and justiceatstake.org.