In an election year as unconventional as this one, African American-owned media outlets are voicing their frustration that has been growing over time. They are speaking out against the lack of ad buys they’re receiving from the candidates.
As reported by the Charlotte Observer, James Winston, president of the National Association of Black Broadcasters, commented that “It seems that every campaign seasons the parties view advertising in African-American-owned media as an afterthought, usually a week or two before the election.”
Congressional Black Caucus members, including Representative Alcee Hastings (D) of Florida’s 20th district, who was also critical of Obama’s 2012 campaign for lack of advertising in African American-owned media and who’s been critically vocal of Donald Trump, commented that he had already voiced his concerns with the Clinton campaign. He said that he had already spoken to John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign Chairman, and that “they at least know my sentiments, and I’ve made it known to the public that I don’t think they are conducting the kind of ground game that I would conduct, and I don’t think they’re spending enough money in black newspapers and radio.”
But, the issue may not be negligence.
It might all just come down to economics as Tad Devine, a political consultant who worked on the campaigns of Al Gore and Bernie Sanders, states.
“It’s really important to mobilize African-American voters in Detroit if you want to win Michigan,” he said. “The owners of the African-American outlets in Detroit say ‘Well, listen, if you want to reach that audience our newspaper or our publican is the best way to do it.’ You look at the numbers that are associated with the reach of that publication and they’re miniscule compared to buying an ad on network television that reaches a very large African-American audience.”
Borrell Associates, a tracking firm for ads, reported that of the estimated $11.7 billion that the campaigns will spend this election cycle, “5.9 billion will go to broadcast television, $1.2 billion to cable, $1.2 billion to digital/online, $916.1 million to radio and $882 million to newspapers.”