Campaign ads are one of the worst parts of any election cycle, and the idea of having to watch them 24/7 sounds, frankly, like torture. That is why it seems very curious that Linda Lingle, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Hawaii, has taken the unprecedented step of creating her own television channel to broadcast her message at all hours. A Republican and the state's former governor, Lingle is trying a creative strategy, but unfortunately it doesn't seem like she's being all the creative in her content.
If you could tune in to her channel and see actual cable-access type shows—maybe called something like Linglevision or Let's Lingle—then that would be extremely fascinating. Plus, it would probably really give you a good idea of what she was like and what she believed in. After all, if YouTube has taught us anything it's that there's nothing more revealing than what a person says when they're alone in a room talking to a camera. But in reality Lingle's channel is just a campaign video that plays on a loop, and then you can also watch some short videos on demand, but they're the same ones you can see on her website. Why on earth would you watch that when you could watch the weirdos on TLC instead? Heck, even the nap-inducing tones of C-SPAN would be more entertaining. Apparently the campaign has plans to add debate footage and video of her giving speeches to the mix, butzzzzzzzz…
So why waste good airtime with dull run-of-the-mill campaigning? Well, Lingle bought time on the channel because, according to the New York Times, she's got "cash to burn." She's got more money than her top two Democratic challengers put together. Must be nice. Apparently her Republican contributors, most of whom do not live in Hawaii, are determined to recapture the Senate seat and also to humiliate Obama in his home state. (If he was even born there… dun dun dunnn.) Ahh, pouring money into embarrassing the President, an honorable cause if there ever was one. So now because of that Lingle is spending $13,000 a week to buy advertising on Oceanic Time Warner Cable, and that includes getting her own channel.
This is the first time anyone has done this in the U.S., but it almost certainly will not be the last. Could this be a good innovation? Well, if all the candidates are confined to their own channels, only the people who are interested will have to tune in. Then maybe the political ads will disappear from the rest of the channels, and we can all go back to watching 30 Rock in peace. And it could put Fox News out of business entirely, since candidates could just tell people what they wanted them to hear directly, instead of having to go to the trouble of waiting for the "hard-hitting questions" to be asked before they spouted their talking points. However, it would have some downsides. It would almost certainly mean it'd take even more money to run for office, and the lack of contrasting opinions on the regular airwaves could force us all even deeper into our own little partisan corners. But it could be so very worth those costs when you think about how magnificently insane and perfectly catastrophic the Michele Bachmann 2016 channel would be.
The Linda Lingle Channel [New York Times]