Of course they need software. Making a human being watch political ads all day would be unimaginably cruel.
But they are doing it to extract the ads for their 'value'. Not to clean up the TV shows. So there must be a market for said torture.
Dear goodness me, you're right on that one. One of my jobs during undergrad was riding herd on a database of campaign ads. Nothing like building a controlled vocabulary and then spending 4 hours at a time watching ads and tagging them with names, years, locations and themes. After that gig, the only person I could have voted for in good conscience was Paul Wellstone, which would have been tricky, him being dead by that point.
I've done fiberglassing in poorly-sealed suits and I've literally shoveled shit for money; that database was, by far, the worst job I've ever held.
It's not just that its how the sausage gets made... its how politicians get made.
Couldn't they start off by looking for all instances of the phrase "I approve this message" in ads from the past ten years, and taking the previous thirty seconds? This should be fairly easy, and create a good initial candidate set.
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