by Joe Adgie
Editor’s Note: Joe Adgie is a freelance journalist and former government reporter with the Henry Herald. This is the first in a series of pieces that Joe will provide The Clayton Crescent. The series evaluates the advertisements and The Clayton Crescent takes no political position and makes no endorsements of any of the claims or candidates profiled in these reports.– RK
On the Monday after the 2020 election, it seemed like life had, for a brief time, returned to normal, as far as commercials on TV news shows were concerned, although a few commercials aired for candidates, mostly in Georgia’s two Senate run-offs.
From now until January 5, I will be reviewing the ads that air on each of Atlanta’s news broadcasts, on WSB-TV (Channel 2, ABC), WAGA-TV (Channel 5, FOX), WXIA-TV (Channel 11, NBC) and WGCL-TV (Channel 46, CBS). This exercise is to determine just how much money is being spent in Georgia and in Atlanta for the two Senate run-offs.
Leading up to election day, the exercise will determine just what ads air, the subject of those ads, the nature of the ads, be it positive or negative in nature, and the source of the ads – as in, who is funding these ads. During the exercise, I will be reviewing the different political action committees that are funding these ads, who runs these PACs, and their connections.
The exercise is not intended to provide a commentary on the editorial positions of any of Atlanta’s television networks, nor are they intended to provide a commentary on the candidates themselves. I am not affiliated with any campaign, nor do I endorse one. The exercise is merely intended to demonstrate just how much money is being spent in Georgia for the two January 5 runoffs, and if Georgia viewers are, indeed, inundated with campaign ads as some would believe.
On Monday, November 9, that was not the case. The only ads that aired with any regularity across Atlanta’s four major networks were ads for the two Democratic challengers for the Senate runoffs, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock. Ossoff is challenging GOP incumbent David Perdue, while Warnock is challenging the GOP’s Sen. Kelly Loeffler. This is Loeffler’s first campaign. She was appointed to office last December by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired due to illness.
Both ads struck a positive tone, with Ossoff’s ad detailing the “Path to Recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“First, we listen to medical experts to control this virus,” Ossoff says in the ad. “Then we shore up our economy with smaller support for small business and tax relief for working families.”
The ad, approved by Ossoff and funded by his campaign, aired numerous times across each of Atlanta’s networks November 9. The ad mostly features Ossoff speaking to the camera, but shows other shots such as medical experts doing research, Ossoff walking with a couple of people in a field surrounded by haybales, Ossoff meeting potential voters, and shots of infrastructure, such as highways, a large container ship, solar panels and internet servers:
In another ad, Warnock takes a more light-hearted tone, mocking potential negative ads that could be hitting the airwaves, and placing Warnock in potentially-unpopular situations:
Get ready Georgia. The negative ads against us are coming.
But that won’t stop us from fighting for a better future for Georgians and focusing on the issues that matter. pic.twitter.com/VN0YIA02MG
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) November 5, 2020
“Raphael Warnock eats pizza with a fork and knife!” an announcer intones. “Raphael Warnock once stepped in a crack in the sidewalk! Raphael Warnock even hates puppies!”
In Warnock’s ad, the candidate takes a swing at Loeffler, saying she “doesn’t want to talk about why she’s for getting rid of healthcare in the middle of a pandemic, so she’s gonna try to scare you with lies about me.”
Warnock ends the ad by stating that, yes, he loves puppies, as he holds a beagle. Warnock’s ad aired numerous times across Atlanta’s networks.
No ads from any political action committee aired during the morning and evening news shows. Due to a recording error, no data was available from the noon news shows.
Ad Age reports that every person in Georgia “will get bombarded by nearly $10 worth of ads across just two months.”