Archive for September 3rd, 2008

September 3, 2008

Noonan: ‘It’s over’

Via Hot Air and the Politico, the obligatory YouTube of Peggy Noonan and GOP strategist Mike Murphy caught on a open microphones at MSNBC, slagging the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as GOP running mate:

I’ve been telling you for weeks about the “we’re doomed” vibe coming from within the GOP elite, and here you see a good example of the genre, as Noonan contradicts her own column, which portrayed Palin as an invincible winner.

Here you see what Noonan really thinks. After Murphy says the choice of Palin is “not going to work,” Noonan interjects: “It’s over.” Responding to a question of whether Palin is the “most qualified” for the presidency, Noonan says, “No. I think they went for this … political bulls— about narratives.” Murphy then adds that the pick of Palin is “cynical.”

I’m reminded of what the late Michael Rust told me the day I arrived in D.C.: “Welcome to Washington, a town where people advance” — and here, he gestured as if climbing a ladder — “on the knives stuck in the backs of their former friends.”

September 3, 2008

Palin rumor HQ

Charles Martin has established a clearinghouse for all the existing rumors about Sarah Palin, and any new ones you want to make up, if you want to try your hand at being a professional journalist like Elizabeth Bumiller.

UPDATE: It’s a server-melting sensation!

September 3, 2008

Kurtz, media and the GOP

Howard Kurtz seems stunned by Steve Schmidt’s reaction to the media feeding frenzy over Sarah Palin:

In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels “under siege” by wave after wave of news inquiries. . . .
The fact that unsubstantiated allegations appear on the Internet “is not a license for smearing” Palin, he said. “The campaign has been inundated by hundreds and hundreds of calls from some of the most respected reporters and news organizations. Many reporters have called the campaign and have apologized for asking the questions and said, ‘Our editors are making us do this, and I am ashamed.’ ” . . .
“We are being bombarded by e-mails and phone calls from journalists asking when she will be dropping out of the race,” Schmidt said.

Kurtz also links HuffPo and quotes a McCain campaign communication staffer, Brian Rogers:

It would be nice if the media outlets covering this garbage actually did their due diligence in reporting, and didn’t just push Obama campaign/Daily Kos smears.

The accusatory approach doesn’t work, nor does the “media victim” tactic. Students of media relations should study this situation closely.

What Schmidt and Rogers are demonstrating, by default, is that media relations is about relationships. People who serve communications functions in an organization must build relationships with journalists if they wish to be able to shape coverage, and this becomes especially obvious when a crisis occurs.

Jon Henke has talked about being brought into Sen. George Allen’s re-election campaign in 2006, in the wake of the “macaca” debacle. Henke’s job was to help Allen get his message out via New Media, but the problem he faced was that this should have been done over the course of many months, long before the “macaca” incident exposed Allen’s vulnerability to online attacks. The Allen campaign had failed to cultivate relationships with the blogosphere (and with Old Media reporters, too), and thus found itself unable to control the narrative once the crisis hit.

One of the reasons GOP operatives are so bad at media relations is that Republican campaign staffs tend to be organized in a structure that is opaque, closed and hierarchical — a command-and-control system, where roles are carefully defined, and “success” is defined as “following orders.”

The 21st-century media environment, however, rewards organizations that are transparent, open and flexible — a team system, where roles change in response to current needs, and “success” is defined as “contributing to the overall effort.”

It’s the difference between an organization based on rules, and an organization based on objectives. A rules-based organization is very good at handling situations that are planned, predictable and routine. But when the McCain campaign discovered Wednesday — two days before the vice-presidential announcement — that the Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter was pregnant, and then found itself attacked by bizarre rumors related to the daughter’s pregnancy, this was a situation unplanned, unpredictable and anything but routine.

Faced with a novel and unanticipated development, the command-and-control style of campaign organization misfired. The press wanted access to the facts, but the closed and opaque style of the McCain campaign — aimed at regulating the flow of information through pre-approved channels — choked off that access, and so reporters (eager to scoop their competitors) began passing along rumors.

Reporters tend to react negatively to organizations that seem secretive: “What are they trying to hide?” The closed, opaque, hierarchical tendencies of Republican campaigns fuel this sense of suspicion. Add in the hostility toward the press that is ubiquitous among GOP operatives, and you have a formula for disaster whenever anything that seems remotely scandalous pops up.

September 3, 2008

Polls: No backlash yet

Polls don’t yet show any evidence to support the belief, widespread among conservatives, that public revulsion with the media’s mistreatment of Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter will redound to the Republicans’ benefit.

Obama leads by 6 points in the Gallup daily tracking poll and by 5 points in the Rasmussen daily, while a Hotline poll shows Obama ahead by 9 points. A fresh round of CNN/Time polls in three Midwestern states — Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio — shows Obama leading in all three.

The big speech tonight will be crucial.

September 3, 2008

Video: McCain greets Palin family

Raw video from Associated Press, notice him talking to baby daddy Levi:

“We’re going to fight back,” Maverick says. And the (oddly optimistic) Allah says, “Before this story’s done circulating, Maverick’s standing with the base is apt to be at an all-time high.”

Any time Allah gets optimistic, something strange must be going on.

September 3, 2008

Tale of three covers

US Weekly cover, June:

US Weekly cover, September:

And, via Michelle Malkin, an US Weekly cover the editors surely never dreamed of running:

September 3, 2008

Dept. of Insincere Advice

How predictable is this? The minute things are looking bad for the Republicans, a liberal courageously steps forward to tell them it’s because they’re too buddy-buddy with the “rightwing base.”

September 3, 2008

Enraged Ewok alert!

Ace is absolutely seething over the media’s treatment of Bristol Palin. He goes all Hulk on “childless bachelor Mark Shields,” throws a sharp elbow at Campbell Brown here, and goes off on the National Enquirer/US stories like the climax of Rambo III.

But, really, Ace, isn’t some of this rage misplaced? Is none of this to be blamed on Levi “f—ing redneck” Johnston? Because the way I’m seeing it, Levi got laid, and America got screwed. If Obama gets elected Nov. 4, I’m first blaming this hockey goon who decided to go for the big trophy by tapping the governor’s daughter.

“Oh, I love you, Bristol!” Yeah, and in the locker room the next day, Levi’s high-fiving all his hockey buddies.

Second, I’m blaming the retarded chimpanzees who are running the McCain campaign. It’s not like Team Maverick couldn’t have figured how the media would react to this little tidbit of news. The girl will be seven months pregnant by November, Ace. Sarah Palin will be a grandmother by Inauguration Day. Like somebody wasn’t going to notice this?

If the folks running the McCain campaign were smart (a very large “if”), they would have advised the Palins to go public about the pregnancy a couple of weeks ago — before anyone even knew she was on the short list for the veep job. It plays out in the Alaska media, runs as a brief on the national wires, and gets a little notice by the national political press. And then, when Maverick announces the choice, the reporters have a sweet little human-interest angle about how the tolerant and open-minded McCain named Palin as his running mate despite the pregnant-daughter semi-scandal.

Instead . . . well, you see what you’ve got now. The media are the media and, as such, are predictable. “Bottom-feeding jackals,” as Little Miss Attila says. And dealing with bottom-feeding jackals is what PR professionals are paid to do, right? So how come, with a “communications” staff of 15, Team Maverick doesn’t have anyone who could figure out how to play this particular story?

Jackals are predictable. Retarded chimpanzees are, too.

UPDATE: Team Maverick didn’t even know Bristol was pregnant until last Wednesday, even though everyone in Wasilla, Alaska, already knew. Fine work by that campaign staff of retarded chimpanzees.

UPDATE II: Retarded chimpanzee talking points.

September 3, 2008

Dept. of Bad Media Relations II

Monumental stupidity:

Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Post editors this morning.
This election is not about issues,” said Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

The Obama campaign fired back:

Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe released the following statement: “We appreciate Senator McCain’s campaign manager finally admitting that his campaign is not in fact about the issues the American people care about, which is exactly the kind of cynical old politics people are ready to change.”

At some point we need to stop whining about media bias and admit the real problem: The Republican Party is being run by retarded chimpanzees.


September 3, 2008

‘F—in’ redneck’ going to RNC

He shoots! He scores!

Levi Johnston, the boyfriend of the pregnant 17-year-old Bristol Palin, plans to join the family at the Republican Party’s nomination [in St. Paul, Minn.] of mom and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president.

Won’t this be the tackiest Republican convention ever? I can just see all those GOP delegates congratulating Levi: “Way to go, stud! Thanks for knocking up the candidate’s daughter and creating a scandal that might elect Obama president!”

Now we know why Sarah Palin can’t find time in her busy schedule for Phyllis Schlafly — she was too busy making travel arrangements for this lowlife thug.

Lock up your daughters, Minnesotans — the Alaska Pipeline’s coming to town!