With media conglomerates spending $8.4 billion on advertising, political advertising in the US is already the most expensive in the world, according to a new report.
The research by Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC-based group that advocates for a more transparent, accountable, and accountable media, also shows that the biggest media conglomerate spenders on political ads are the companies that own news websites, magazines, newspapers, television stations, radio stations, and other media outlets, as well as large online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Media companies have already spent more than $1 billion on media advertising over this decade, according the study, based on data from Kantar Media/CMAG.
The report, published Wednesday, comes on the heels of the House of Representatives’ decision to block funding for the National Endowment for Democracy, the nonprofit arm of the Democratic National Committee that has been accused of suppressing the vote and other civil rights issues, and President Donald Trump’s order to suspend federal funding to organizations that criticize him.
The groups findings also came after a series of protests against the Trump administration and the president himself.
Protesters, many of them Black, have shut down dozens of major events in recent months, including marches in cities across the country and on college campuses.
The protests, along with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, have galvanized the Black community, who are overwhelmingly against police brutality.
Protest organizers are calling for more police accountability and a new “black power” movement.
“The president’s order is a cynical attack on the very people who are making it possible for the American people to feel safe,” said Molly Brown, executive director of Public Knowledge.
Read moreAt the same time, a study released last month by the Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank, said the country’s top 10 media companies spent more on political advertisements in 2017 than all of the other major advertising groups combined.
More than $5 billion of that money came from media conglomerats, including Comcast Corp., Time Warner Inc., AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Disney Co., and Amazon.
A spokesman for the companies declined to comment.
The study, which also found that political advertising costs more in the U.S. than any other country, found that the top media conglomerators spent nearly one-third of their advertising budget on the Black Lives Matter movement, the Black Student Movement, and the Black Panthers.
Black students in particular are a particularly vocal constituency of protest movements, and they have been a key part of the Black Bloc, a new black civil rights group founded in the aftermath of Brown’s death that has grown in size since his death.
For Black Americans, the protest movement is often framed in the political context of the black-on-black crime rate, and many black people, particularly young black men, see themselves as the ones who are most affected by the issue, said Jennifer Bell, executive vice president of the Democracy Collaborative, a group that works to promote the public good.
In a 2016 study, Bell said, Black people were more likely than whites to believe that police officers are the perpetrators of crimes against blacks, but were also more likely to blame police officers for the deaths of other black people.
Bell said the report also shows the need for more direct and democratic approaches to issues, like voting rights and prison reform, that the American public does not support.
“These data confirm what Black people have known for a long time: the most effective way to end the racial wealth gap is through direct, systemic change,” Bell said.
Public Knowledge, along and beyond the Black-on Black crime issue, also pointed to the Black National Guard’s controversial use of lethal force in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, when it killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in a confrontation with a police officer that ended in Brown’s killing.
Brown was unarmed and had his hands up when the officer shot him.
Critics of the Ferguson Police Department argued that officers who used deadly force had violated department policies that allowed for use of force against persons they believed posed a threat to others.
After Brown’s family sued the city for wrongful death and wrongful imprisonment, the city settled with Brown’s parents for $9.25 million.
At the time, the case was also a cause célèbre for civil rights activists.
The judge presiding over the case, William H. McReynolds, said at the time that his decision was based on a legal rationale for lethal force that was not supported by the evidence.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it would investigate the use of deadly force by the Ferguson police.