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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Why is Bob Casey Jr. Smiling?

by Susan Cirba

I wonder how much cash is in the Casey for Senate bank account right now. He must have plenty because it looks as though he’s got a whopping bill coming from the Scranton Times.
Oh, you say Bob Casey Jr. did not PAY to have his name appear in dozens of Scranton Times - Scranton Tribune newspaper ads, television ads, billboards and ads plastered on the side of Lackawanna County Colts Buses? Then how did they get there?

The Scranton Times and Scranton Tribune (the evening and morning papers respectively) recently merged into a single paper, the Times-Tribune. The ad graphics include samples of the Health, Classified, Sports, Lifestyles, and Business pages with the front page on top. What a coincidence! The front page just happens to have a headline which reads "Casey to run for Senate", with Bobby Jr.’s smiling face on front. And why shouldn’t he be smiling? Look at all the free advertising he’s gotten from his friends at the Scranton Times! Times advertisers were even nice enough to remind voters of the Terri Schiavo case, an issue Democrats believe will hurt Casey's opponent, Senator Rick Santorum in the upcoming election.

Interesting thing about that front page. It never existed except on the pages of these ads.
Casey announced his candidacy on March 3rd. or 4th . The March 4 Times story featured in the mock-up ad originally had the headline "Casey at Bat". The Saturday paper’s headline read "Casey In, Hafer Out" And the Terri Schiavo article did not appear that same weekend, but after Easter which would have been March 26 or 27.

Times-Tribune "Better Together" ads have been running in the Times and Tribune the entire months of June and July. What the actual value of this Casey promotion amounts to is anybody’s guess, but I’d say easily a million dollars or more. Ads appeared daily in the Times and Tribune before the papers merged and continued with another Casey promo in the "New" paper. Add to this a least five billboards, numerous television spots and bus ads.

The second Times ad focused on food, columnists, cartoons and Surprise! under the "Better Together" ad text is a copy of the mocked-up "Casey to run for Senate" paper.
I don’t know much about campaign finance laws but I understand politicians. If Casey won’t be paying for these ads with cash, I believe he’ll be paying for them with political favors.

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