By Christopher B. Daly
Some worthies from today’s news:
—The Times has a piece that toys with what might be called the “journalistic Heisenberg principle.” That is, based on the popular view of Werner’s Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, it would appear that a reporter cannot be present at a political event without changing the event. In any case, it’s always fascinating to hear what politicians say when they think they are off the record.
—The Times has a piece about the final round of releases of the secret tapes that JFK made in the Oval Office. Disclaimer: Kennedy had an “on” button (unlike Nixon), so the conversations that were recorded were those that he chose. Furthermore, these tapes have passed through the hands of the family and the staff at the Kennedy Presidential Library, so there is no way of knowing what is not in there. Still, they are the best we are going to have.
—The Globe has a piece that addresses the question: who is on the receiving end of all the money spent on political advertising? It’s the owners of the thousands of TV stations around the country, of course. Not all of the prosper equally, of course. Much depends on whether they are in a “battleground” state. Also, they may not prosper as much as you might think: Since Congress started regulating broadcasting in 1927, lawmakers have rigged the rules in their favor. As in this excerpt from the Globe:
By federal mandate, candidates for president and Congress receive preferential treatment when booking advertising time, and stations must give equal airtime to each side of a race. Candidates can also buy television advertising time at a discount from the going commercial rate. The result all too often: back-to-back political spots which can bump more lucrative commercial advertising.
Leave it to politicians to write the rules.