Watch TV and you will see Sen. Patty Murray and her opponent, Dino Rossi, banking up the prime-time commercials back to back. How much of that ‘pie’ is given to ethnic media?
To say that the ethnic media receive a share the size of a peanut would be generous. It’s close to half of a pea. In the past, most ethnic news organizations have gotten nothing and don’t expect to get anything.
Julie Pham, founder of Sea Beez, which organized a candidates’ forum for ethnic media last Friday, wrote in a Northwest Asian Weekly commentary, “Of the 33 ethnic media organizations surveyed … 11 said they received no political campaign advertising. More than half received less than $500 in 2009.” Yet, political expenditures and contributions registered as ad or media buys totaled almost $3.4 million, according to the 2009 Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) records.
So the forum provided an opportunity for ethnic media to meet with diverse candidates, Republicans, and Democrats. It also made politicians aware of the important role that minority media can play in influencing an election’s outcome.
Some candidates claim that the turnout for minority voters has not been strong enough to make an impact. Think again. A small percentage of voters can determine who the winner is, especially in a close race. In 2004, in his first gubernatorial race, Rossi lost by 133 votes out of 2.8 million.
Remember what happened in the 2008 presidential race? Minority and first-time voters increased in many states because President Obama’s outreach campaign targeted minority voters and included advertising budgets for minority media, including ours. ♦