Friday, August 13, 2004


I'd recommend that the Kerry campaign read this by Bob Somerby and this from the Mighty Reason Man. I'm not sure things are quite as dire as either of them say, but I do think there is, shall we say, room for improvement.

To invoke bad and probably inappropriate military analogies, but when it comes to the propaganda campaign, I think the Kerry campaign is running an excellent air campaign but they're not focused enough on the ground war.

From Somerby:

INDEED: If you want to see the shape of the problem, go to the “Rapid Response” section of Kerry’s site. With regard to Cheney’s comments, the “Rapid Responses” do a lot of name-calling, but they make little attempt to say why Cheney’s attack was misleading. In particular, look at the letter from Clark and McPeake; the generals accuse Cheney of “gutter” politics, but never say what was actually wrong with his misleading presentation. This is truly awful campaigning—deeply awful, to the point of embarrassment. Yes, reporters should have shown what Kerry actually said. But this campaign’s message work is deeply inept. How about a “Relevant Response?” Yesterday, such responses were notably Missing In Action.

From the Mighty one:

You know this. So why in God's name am I seeing interview clips that involve your spokespeople beginning sentences by stuttering, looking nonplussed, and saying things like "I believe" and "That's not entirely correct"?

I don't know, maybe you're hiring your favorite nieces or the neighbor children to be your spokespeople, but whatever it is, it ain't gonna cut it my friends. Anyone who goes in front of a camera with the imprimatur of the campaign and is blindsided by quotes, allegations, or outright lies that I have already heard needs to be fired immediately. There's a lot of dirt gonna be thrown your way in the next few months, and the time to pattycake with this bullshit is over.

Basically, the campaign needs more and better surrogates.

You need people who do nothing but immerse themselves in the world of right wing media. As the Mighty one suggests elsewhere in his post, Blogs provide a handy Reader's Digest version of what's being thrown around talk radio, etc. Watch Fox. Listen to Sean Hannity's radio show. Frequently, you can get a 24 hour or more heads up about what's going to show up on Inside Politics soon.

I don't know how they organize who is on deck for media appearances, but they just have to be better prepared. It doesn't even matter if they have a fancy title, or are recognizable, or whatever -- they just have to be good. Train them. Drill them. Look, there are some various dem bigwigs who I like very much, and who in some contexts are very effective, but that doesn't mean they're effective media spokespeople in all contexts.

Quality comprehensive media training exists. Have a stable of professional coaches around to help people.

Sure, the media deck is stacked, but there's no use whining about it now. Every single issue needs to be distilled down to one sentence. Every single right wing charge needs to have a bullet-point rebuttal and countercharge, at everyone's fingertips - at least everyone who's going to go in front of the cameras.