California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has blanketed the state with TV and radio ads, shattering all self-funding records. And now her spots don’t just promote campaigns, but movies.
She started running radio spots today in which she gives her endorsement to “Waiting for Superman,” Davis Guggenheim’s documentary calling for reform of the school system. Guggenheim, responsible for “An Inconvenient Truth” and Barack Obama’s convention film, aims substantial criticism at the teachers unions. The unions have been running spots opposing Whitman’s candidacy.
“I’m Meg Whitman, and I don’t normally recommend movies,” Whitman says in the spot. “But every parent of a school-aged child in California should see ‘Waiting for ‘Superman.'”
“This documentary may make your blood pressure rise. But I believe it will galvanize us to work together across party lines to overturn the status quo and bring about real education reform,” she says.
Is this an exercise in cross promotion? Paramount Pictures, which is distributing the movie, contributed $5,000 to Whitman’s campaign on Sept. 21, according to campaign finance records. But the studio contributed that same amount to her Democratic challenger, Jerry Brown.
Joe Mathews sees this as a gambit on Whitman’s part to push the issue of education reform and force Brown’s hand with teachers. But he writes, “What does all of this mean for schools? Probably not much. In California, we never seem able to have direct discussions about schools and how they’re funded. Instead, we talk indirectly, about films (the movie Stand and Deliver about unexpected academic success at East Los Angeles’ Garfield High has been a conversation starter in previous campaigns) and other narratives as a substitute for real scrutiny of education particulars.
The spot is here.