Although we are all more aware, what tricks are left?
Think about this in light of an unconfirmed story in the New York Post about a needed repair on a hard drive, in connection with Hunter Biden, in connection with a Delaware repair shop, in connection with an email, in connection with Rudolph Giuliani.
What remains then to gain real attention? Deep fake videos on traditional TV media? Hacking TV networks? CTV political advertising fraud? Holograms? Maybe just transferred information about one’s political opponent from a Scandinavian nation.
“If someone called from a country, [for example] Norway!” said President Trump in a June 2019 ABC TV network interview, “[And they said] ‘we have information on your opponent.’ Oh.. I think I’d want to hear it.” But do we?
(When she heard Trump's remark, the FEC chair Ellen Weintraub immediately tweeted: “It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.”)
We are more alert now than four years ago to suspect content. Although more work is required, we continue to search news media for confirmation. (If we have the time!)
So if you are an advertiser supporting iffy media platforms on TV, print, and social media (not as yet to be called a publisher, otherwise known as a news media/journalism organization), what do you do? And what do you do if your messages are mixed around those of bad actors?
That’s a tough call -- especially in these tough pandemic times.
Consider that TV ad spending on national TV news channels -- and especially on local TV stations newscasts -- remains strong as we head into the presidential election, less than half a month away. This comes not just for political marketers but core TV advertisers.
CNN over the last 60 days (August 19 through October 19) saw $188.1 million in advertising spending, according to iSpot.tv. Fox News Channel hit $162 million and MSNBC hit $51.1 million, A year ago over the same period, Fox News Channel hit $156.4 million, while CNN came in at $165.4 million and MSNBC at $33.1 million.
At the same time, there is TV advertising fraud going on via connected TV and OTT, according to many recent research reports. We don’t know what piece of this could be related to political advertising on any news or non-news oriented platforms.
Yet, overall, the CIA says, according to The New York Times, that media manipulation is going on right now -- that Russian efforts to influence American politics have continued steadily.
Should we be concerned? Sure. But maybe we can rule out some connections -- like Norway.