There are less than 100 days until voters throughout the country cast their votes for the next president of the United States of America. The campaign war chests of President Obama and Mitt Romney total almost $3 billion, however, as of this writing, not one dollar has been spent in the Black Press.
Once again, the Black Press has been unfortunately relegated to an “Oh By the Way” campaign that features one 1/2 page ad placed two weeks before the election in all Black newspapers for a shameful $1.2 million. That is the money paid by Obama for America (OFA). The Romney Campaign has zero dollars allocated! To put this all into perspective, let me fill you in on the process.
In January of this year, we had conversations with the OFA campaign. At that time, we were told that money was not coming in as expected so they could not talk about advertising in Black newspapers. In late April, after we found out that the OFA campaign had ONLY $800 million, we put together a very detailed advertising proposal for $21 million dollars, which included multiple insertions in all National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) publications from June through November. The plan suggested a campaign that encouraged three phases of action. The first steps were “voter registration,” since you can’t vote if you are not registered and “proper ID.” Understanding that voter suppression laws vary from state to state, it is important that voters know what to take to the polls in order to vote. The last stop was “GOTV – get out the vote.” Mobilizing our communities to go to the polls is the key to winning the upcoming election. Our proposal also included an aggressive digital and social media campaign as well.
Today, we are once again in a position of being taken for granted. Does Jim Messina know something about Black folks that we didn’t know? I am beginning to wonder where are the Black folks that are advising this campaign? Do they not see the money being spent around them? Are they not asking why are there no Black pollsters, ad agencies, placement firms, or other Black owned businesses reaping the benefits of the ONLY $3 billion being spent in this campaign season. SHOW ME THE MONEY!
At the end of the election, when all the money has been spent, some people will be very happy. They will not care who wins. To take a quote from the movie “Trading Places,” “No matter what happens…..Duke and Duke still get their commission!”
What are we to do? Do we stand by and again wait four more years? Let’s get moving now! Come on Roland Martin, Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson, Cliff Kelly, Steve Harvey, Oprah Winfrey! Let’s talk about this now. SHOW ME THE MONEY!
Cloves C. Campbell Jr. is chairman of the National Newspapers Publishers Association, an organization made up of more than 200 black-owned newspapers.