UPDATED: 9/17/13 10:15 AM
Both the group for and opposed to I-522, an initiative for labeling gentically-modified (GMO) foods, released their respective TV advertisements today.
The "Yes on I-522" campaign released one ad, entitled "Washingtonians," that shows a farmer, a fisher, a physician, and several others explaining why they want GMO foods labeled. It begins and ends by emphasizing the campaign's message: that consumers "have a right to know" if food has been genetically modified. Watch the full ad below:
The other advertisement, "Right," explains that since food products already list ingredients and nutritional information, it is both logical and uncostly to include GMO labels.
The ad also takes a jab at the "No on I-522" campaign, saying that campaign is funded by large corporations who only care about profits. The No campaign is, in fact, funded by only five corporations who have raised over $11 million; they have raised an additional $7.8 million for their campaign since we last reported their contributions in late August.
The Yes campaign would not disclose how much was spent on these TV ads, and the expenditures are not listed on the Public Disclosure Commission's (PDC) website yet. However, the PDC does list about $8,000 total spent on Seattle Times, Google, and Facebook advertisements.
The Yes campaign has been promoting itself as a grassroots effort to give people their right to information. According to Yes on 522 Communications Director Elizabeth Larter, the campaign has now accumulated almost $3.5 million from a total of over 7,000 donors. Earlier, she emphasized to us that the camp's 5,000 different donors made the average contribution about $25 per donor, whereas the No campaign had an average donation of $465,303 from its five corporate donors (late last month).
Larter's 7,000 donor stat, however, does not match up with the 3160 contribution listings on the PDC's website—many of which come from the same donors. Even including the 1,000-plus donations (according to Larter) of less than $25 that are not listed by the PDC, there are still about 3,000 donors unaccounted for.
UPDATE: The 1,000-plus number was from last week. Larter reports an updated number of 5200-plus donors of under $25 each, who are not listed on the PDC website.
Additinally, critics note that $2.8 million of the Yes campaign comes from 35 of its biggest donors. The pro-camp's biggest donor, as we mentioned before, is Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps with $950,000 in contributions.
The No campaign also released TV spots today—four total, featuring people such as former Director of the Washington Department of Agriculture Dan Newhouse, former Washington State Attorney General Ken Eikenberry, former President of the Washington State Medical Association Dr. Peter Marsh, and a family farmer from Pasco.
They discuss their logistical issues with the legislation, which only applies to some food and not others, and the misleading information that might give consumers. They also claim that labeling will be costly for both food producers and consumers.
We discussed some of these concerns with the No campaign back in mid-August, and noted some contradictory objections (don't want labeling, yet have a problem with limited labeling?), which the Yes campaign says is intended to confuse voters.
We are waiting to hear back from the No campaign about how much their ads cost, but the PDC reports $70,000 spent on media and media production.
View all four videos below: