According to the Wall Street Journal, a record $6 billion was spent on political advertising during the 2012 election cycle.
If you have a difficult time wrapping your mind around that incomprehensible sum of money, consider all that you can do with $6 billion:
- Buy Belize ($1.44 billion), purchase the Dallas Cowboys ($2.1 billion), build a replica of Cowboys Stadium ($1.3 billion) in Belize and make out a $15,000 check to every citizen of the country for the hell of it.
- Purchase an iPad mini ($329) for every resident of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
- Have Jay-Z and Kanye West ($6 million per show) perform at your home every night from now until Aug. 4, 2015.
- Fund the Mars Exploration Rover mission ($944 million) and send five million fourth-through-sixth graders to Space Camp ($979 for three months).
- Buy the world a Coke. Literally. Actually, you could buy every person on the planet three cans of Coca-Cola ($6.99 per 24-pack).
- Give every college student in the U.S. who’s graduating with a four-year degree a 2000 Ford Taurus LX Sedan with just 80,000 miles ($3,000).
Or, you could pay for every single political ad placement, be it print, digital or broadcast, that appeared during the 2012 election cycle.
My hope is the $6 billion that was spent this cycle serves as a stimulus for the many strapped-for-cash news-gathering operations our democracy so desperately depends on.