Via America’s Lawyer: Despite a whopping $8 billion spent on political ads, this election season proved conventional TV ads may be all but obsolete in swaying the decisions of voters. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             An astounding $8 billion was spent on political ads this year. And the research shows that it had virtually zero effect on what Americans chose to do. This is a startling story, but the, the, it’s clear is it’s crystal clear that all this advertising had no impact, meaningful impact. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  You know.

Mike Papantonio:            $8 billion.

Farron Cousins:                  Political advertising is still stuck in the stone age. You know, they still think it’s the 1960s and that, hey, we buy a couple of TV ads here, you’re going to convince all these people in Peoria to vote for you. Okay. Well, people don’t consume television and advertising the way they used to 60 years ago, but the reason they still invest so much in that is because the middle people, the people who get hired on as these consultants and they say, let me go be your ad buyer. And then they get a cut of everything they sell. They go down to your local channel two news station and they say, I need a 30 second spot here. Here’s your money. Here’s my cut of it. And they walk away with millions of dollars and they’re screwing the candidates and the people.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Let me, let me, let me round that out even more. The anchors that work MSNBC or Fox or CNN, they’re part of it too. You see the deal is we will sell your hate and division, put up your ad about hate and division, and we’ll sell it on our, on our, on our program. We’ll talk about that hate and division. Just keep the ads coming. Keep the ads coming and we will help you sell your hate and division. I’ll tell you something that most, to me, the most compelling thing, Texas, Ohio, and Florida, Biden doubled, doubled the amount that Trump spent there. And he and Trump, Biden lost every one of them.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and I think a lot of it has to do with, we do have a public that is, I wouldn’t say more informed, but access to more information that kind of affirms what they already believe. You know, they don’t have to learn about a candidate through television ads anymore. They learn about it through Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and all of these other avenues, which is both good and bad because there’s more misinformation than real information. But that’s another reason why these political ads have no more effect because people have already made up their minds before you’ve even walked in to do your first ad buy.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, they know this, they’ve done this, they’ve done the focus groups. The content is so bad.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             The content is so bad that the public just turns it off. But let, let, let me round up on this issue about the deal, the deal between the advertisers and corporate media. The deal is you come to us, we’re the progressive, we’re the progressive TV. Come to us. We’re going to get your votes out. We’re, we’re the conservative TV Fox, we’re going to get your votes out. And their goal is to not, to not to be objective, but to feed the hate, to feed the division that comes out in those advertisements, that’s their goal. And they do it. But I, you know, if you’re spending $8 billion, you need to take a look at these studies right now because it’s a lot of money wasted. Isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  It is. That is a lot of money down the toilet, and you’re not going to get that money back. And you got nothing to show for it. The amount of money wasted this year was absolutely astronomical.

Mike Papantonio:             $8 billion.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Thanks for joining me Farron, appreciate it.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.