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As Alito TV Air War Simmers, Groups on Left and Right Adopt Different Tactics

December 1, 2005

For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Contact Information
Natalia Kennedy, 212 998–6736
Jesse Rutledge, Justice at Stake, 202 588–9454

As Alito TV Air War Simmers, Groups on Left and Right Adopt Different Tactics
Conservatives Still Lead on Television Advertising Spending

NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, DC Early television advertising campaigns underwritten by interest groups who support or oppose the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court indicate that the groups, so far, are employing opposite
strategies. Conservative supporters have spent their entire advertising budget on national cable television, presumably in an effort to build a positive image of Judge Alito across
the country. Liberal opponents have focused 90 percent of their advertising spots in states that are home to key senators such as Maine and Rhode Island, presumably in an effort to sway public opinion in those states. The liberal groups have spent only a token amount on a national cable campaign. Overall, conservatives have outspent their liberal counterparts by nearly 3:1 since
President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court on October 31.

From October 31 through November 25, Progress for America, the lone conservative group to take to the airwaves on Judge Alitos behalf, has spent $308,388. During the same time period, two liberal groups—People for the American Way and—have spent $118,592.  Cumulatively, conservatives have spent more than twice as much on TV ads as their opponents during this years three nominations. 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.

Groups concerned about the direction of the Court are weighing in now, to frame the debate in hearings that wont be held until next year, said Deborah Goldberg, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Progress for Americas latest ad features four of Alitos former law clerkstwo of them white women, one African-American, and one Asian-Americanendorsing him and rejecting attacks against him as unfair. Adds a narrator, some liberals still go after
him with untrue attacks. The group endorsed Alito hours after he was nominated. The ad from People for the American Way, which announced its opposition to Judge Alito hours after he was named, says, the Right Wing has taken over the West Wing. It doesnt seek to characterize Judge Alito, though it criticizes his rulings on discrimination
and strip-searches, along with a statement Alito made as a lawyer criticizing Roe v. Wade.

The data indicates that the liberal groups have been spending more on television ads than conservative groups in recent days, added 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 at and