Moderators Give Democrats $37.8 Million in Free Advertising

The growing contentiousness over media favoritism for Democrats in the Presidential debates is reaching a boiling point as we approach the final 1-on-1 confrontation Monday October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida. Thankfully plenty of conservatives are aggressively speaking up over Candy Crowley inappropriately injecting herself on the President’s behalf and incorrectly arbitrating the disagreement on the floor between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

The statistical measures of media bias are piling up following last night’s fiasco. Earlier we picked up on Katrina Trinko’s post on the excess time given to Democrats in the 3 debates thus far over Republicans:

  • In the first Presidential debate, Obama spoke for 3 minutes, 14 seconds more than Romney – which means he got 8 percent more talking time than Romney.
  • During the vice presidential debate, Biden spoke for 1 minute, 22 seconds more than Ryan.  That gave Biden 3 percent more speaking time than Ryan.
  • In the second Presidential debate, Obama spoke for 4 minutes and 18 seconds longer than Romney, giving him 11 percent more talking time.
  • Candy Crowley not only interrupted to incorrectly support President Obama, she interrupted Mitt Romney 28 times but only interrupted Obama 9 times
  • Crowley also allowed President Obama to get the last word on question 8 of the 11 questions

This means that over 3 debates actively managed by the moderators in favor of one party, the Democrat candidate has been given 8 minutes and 54 seconds more time than the Republicans with viewership consistently ~70 million people. To give some pop culture perspective, the series finale of Seinfeld in 1999 drew 76 million household viewers.

But how much would it cost the Democrats if they had to pay for the opportunity to speak 1-on-1 to the American public on prime time television with an expected viewership of 70 million people?

The only comparisons I could come up with for anticipated events with viewership of this magnitude were the Super Bowl which has 110 million viewers last year and the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics which drew 40 million viewers.  Last year, a 30-second ad in Super Bowl XLVI (2012) cost $3.5 million dollars. At the summer Olympics advertisers paid as much as $725,000 for each 30-second prime-time spot.  If we slot the 70 million person audience right in the middle let’s call it $2.1-million per 30-second ad for a national prime time audience. This means that the “independent” moderators giving Democrats 9 minutes more speaking time have gifted Democrats $24.3 million dollars in free advertising over these 3 debate broadcasts.

[Addendum:  My friend Lisa in advertising pointed out the Oscars charge $1.7 million for 30-second spots and their viewership is just under 40 million so I’m being generous with my $2.1 million figure on a 70 million person TV audience.]

If you look at the ad spending numbers provided by NBC’s First Read, Obama and Romney for this week are both spending $13-14 million.  All of that is in only 8-9 Battleground States.  This means the Democrats are getting almost THREE weeks worth of Battleground State advertising free of charge through the willful incompetence of the “independent” moderators. At the same time if Mitt Romney wanted to spend his $191 million war chest on a 30-minute paid advertisement to run his 10-minute bio from the Convention or similar autobiographical materials I’d wager the networks would reject this because it would be unfair to the Obama campaign who has comparatively far less cash on hand.

This is just the latest disgraceful display by a media who are making in-kind contributions to the re-election efforts of Barack Obama through unrealistic polling that doubles as press releases for Obama For America and moderators who stifle Republican candidates while actively assisting the Democrats.


  1. Pete
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Crowley’s actions should be investigated. Why did she have a Rose Garden transcript and how did Obama know it?

    This should be pursued since the next debate is only a few days away.

    • Kevin
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s worse than that. Obama said, “read the transcripts” and then wa-la, Crowley just happens to have the transcripts right in front of her. She didn’t have to dig for them, they were right there.

      Coincidence? More like a staged moment.

  2. WillBest
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My theory is that our unbiased media are going to let Romney have a 9 minute monologue to start the 3rd debate.

    • Kevin
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I like your sarcasm. I was thinking the same thing.

  3. Dennis
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is all very interesting, but I fear this election all will come down to a single state: Ohio. And the better polls (excluding all commercial TV channel affiliated polls, of course) have the race about dead even or Romney a point or so behind Obama. Given that it takes a couple point advantage to make sure the Republican votes get fairly counted, and given the massive early on anti-Romney ads which create a firewall of opposition to him getting a fair hearing in Ohio, I am frankly worried that the election may slip away in its last moments. Somehow, good polling in Ohio seems rare for such a critical state. Now we hear the Democrats are still secure they have Ohio: c
    Can anyone clarify the race there — giving good reasons why Romney can/will win the state? Absent solid evidence for “cautious opimism” in Ohio, it appears to me that the entire election effort may be for naught.

  4. Dennis
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “Cautious opTimism” that is, of course.

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  1. […] “Moderators Give Democrats $37.8 Million in Free Advertising,” BattleGroundWatch […]

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