Something just occurred to me, on this, the holiest of political days. You know how Barack Obama bought, like, I dunno, a gazillion dollars worth of TV time to run his infomercial a few days before the election?
Whether or not his little bit of soft-serve propaganda served to sway any undecided voters is arguable, but at least the maneuver effectively cock-blocked John McCain from running his hideously angry, ugly anti-Obama ads.
You know why Obama was able to buy up huge amounts of major affiliate prime-time? Because in the '80s, the TV industry was freed up by deregulation. You young'uns out there might not know this, but once upon a time, infomercials were by law restricted to certain times of day--late, late night, actually; their airing during prime time or daytime was illegal. But one man came along and changed all that, a visionary who opened us up to the 24-7 world of cheap juicers and rip-off real estate programs. Until then, we didn't even know what we were missing!
Eventually, this freedom of the airwaves led to its logical conclusion: Obama's bought himself a full hour biopic to promote his personal history, his programs, his ideas. According to Reuters, 33.5 million people watched the thing, 60 minutes of freedom for Obama to look presidential and smooth, as opposed to the only images we saw of McCain, which consisted mainly of media-chosen, 10-second-long video of him staggering awkwardly about various stump stages, rambling about socialism.
The tasty irony is this: The one man who got the TV deregulatory ball rolling, who opened up the airwaves in the name of the Republican fantasy of an unfettered free market? Ronald Reagan.
The circle is complete.