The 2003 California Recall Election offered one of the best values for shameless self-promoters in recent history. For $3,500 and 65 signatures, your name and personal statement would reach tens of millions of people as a candidate for Governor.
This bar-lowering allowed people often left out of gubernatorial politics, such as brewers, satanists, pornographers, railroad car brake operators, prop-based comedians and tiny thespians, a chance to get their name and message across in an arena where millions were likely to notice.
Fast forward to 2008. This time it's The Economist offering low cost publicity.
Attempting to justify an article attacking Senator Jim Webb as a poor choice for Barack Obama's running mate, despite neither Webb nor anyone in Obama's campaign suggesting he's under consideration or would take the position, presented the following explanation:
"No one but Mr. Obama knows whom he will pick, but the buzz around Mr. Webb is loud enough to make in the favourite on Intrade, a betting website. So it is worth examining his weaknesses, too."
The problem with this is that only about $1,000 was actually wagered on Jim Webb via InTrade. Don't tell Gallagher.