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Show me the money!

The Black vote again taken for granted
By Cloves Campbell

There are less than 100 days until voters throughout the country will cast their votes for the next president of the United States of America as well as U.S. Senate, House and state legislatures.

The campaign war chests for President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney total almost $3 billion! However, as of this writing, not one dollar has been spent in the Black Press. Once again the Black Press has unfortunately been relegated to an “Oh, by the way” campaign that features one half-page ad placed two weeks before the election in all Black newspapers, totaling a shameful $1.2 million. That is the money placed by the Obama for America Campaign (OFA). The Romney Campaign has committed zero dollars.

To put this all into proper perspective, let me fill you in on the approach National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) took in reference to the ad campaign.

In January of this year, we had conversations with the OFA campaign. At that time, we were told that money was not coming in as expected so they could not talk about advertising in Black newspapers.

In late April, after we were advised that the OFA campaign had only $800 million, we put together a very detailed advertising proposal for $21 million, which included multiple insertions in all NNPA publications from June through November. The plan suggested a campaign that encouraged three phases of action.

The first steps were “Voter Registration — you can’t vote if you are not registered.”

Second was “Proper ID — What to take to the polls.” Understanding that voter suppression laws vary from state to state, it is important that voters know what to take to the polls in order to vote.

The last step is “GOTV — get out the vote.” Mobilizing our communities to go to the polls is the key to winning the upcoming election.

Our proposal also included an aggressive digital and social media campaign as well.

Today, once again, we are in the position of being taken for granted. Does Jim Messina know something about Black folks that we don’t know? I am beginning to wonder where the Black Folks are that are advising this campaign? Do they not see the money being spent around them?

Are they not asking why there are no Black pollsters, ad agencies, placement, firms or other Black-owned businesses reaping the benefits of the only $3 billion being spent in this campaign season? Show me the money!

At the end of the election, over $3 billion will have been spent. Some people will be very happy. They will not care who wins. To take a quote from the movie “Trading Place,” “No matter what happens … Duke and Duke still get their commission!” What are we to do?

Do we stand by and again wait four more years? Let’s get moving now! Come on, Roland Martin, Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson, Cliff Kelly, Steve Harvey and Oprah Winfrey. Let’s talk about this now. Show me the money!

Cloves Campbell is chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)

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