One TV political commercial, that has been playing over the last several months, talks vaguely about how badly lawmakers have been treating U.S. technology companies.
But it doesn’t tell you much in terms of company names, executives, or specific tech issues. This critical ad about politicians and technology, from the American Edge Project, doesn't get into details. Is that the point?One noted TV observer, Garth Ancier, a former senior media executive at NBC, Fox and WB Network (co-founder), among other places, recently wrote via Facebook:
“They’re not selling anything, per se, just complaining that the U.S. is stifling American tech innovation. Seems innocuous enough, though hardly true. Who would WANT to stifle US tech innovation?”
The Washington Post says Facebook helped launch the American Edge Project with “dark money.”
The on-air messaging doesn't call out any attacks on popular technology products or services like those from Apple, Google, Netflix -- or, say, a metaverse headset.
One could see that Facebook -- generally speaking -- could benefit from this political messaging. In recent years, Facebook has faced major issues over privacy, excesses over improper targeting, fact-based issues over content on its site, and questionable business advertising metrics connected to marketers’ messaging campaigns.
All this has resulted in calls for heavy governmental regulation.
In one current spot, the campaign portrays a small business owner -- a plumbing business in Arizona -- who touts his use of digital tools like social media and online advertising to reach new customers.
His complaint is this: “I don't understand why some in Congress want to take away the technology we use every day. This political campaign against American technology will hurt small businesses like mine who need it.”
So, sure -- this could be about Facebook. And yet it seems to leave the door open to go further -- although we are not exactly sure where.
Since mid-March, there have been 941 airings of commercials on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC with a national TV advertising spend estimate of $2.6 million, according to iSpot.tv.
The tone -- and the overarching theme of the messaging -- does not seem to target one particular political party. And it does not call for one Congress representative to vote against anything specific.
Ancier has an idea to remedy this: “Facebook is already the biggest tech lobbyist in Washington. Seriously -- shouldn't Mark Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] just say, in garbled [voice], of course: ‘I’m Mark Zuckerberg and I paid for this message’?