Election 2008: Money, Media & Influence


Lots of people get their news from TV. And no matter what you want to watch tonight, you're likely to see Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential nominee has bought a chunk of prime time on several networks as he tries to seal the deal with voters. NPR's David Folkenflik has more.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Senator Obama doesn't give a lot of interviews, but in these closing days he's agreed to a flurry of them. The Obama campaign is also paying for a half-hour commercial to run at 8 p.m. tonight Eastern time on CBS, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and Univision. It's expensive. For example, the Obama campaign paid just under a million dollars apiece to CBS and to FOX. Tonight's World Series game will be delayed about 15 minutes. J. Max Robins is vice president of The Paley Center for Media and used to be editor of "Broadcasting and Cable." He says it's a smart move.

Mr. J. MAX ROBINS (Vice President, The Paley Center for Media): When are those unique times when you see television programming roadblocked across all the major networks focused on one person? By and large, it's when someone's the president of the United States.

FOLKENFLIK: But this, of course, is a candidate, not a president. And the last one to do this was billionaire Ross Perot in 1992. Republican candidate John McCain sought to make Obama's show of strength into a liability.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): He's measuring the drapes, and he's planned his first address to the nation before the election. By the way, no one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I'm president.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

FOLKENFLIK: With six days left, Obama is swinging for the fences. David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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