Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A New Day

What should be clear to everyone following the media coverage is that they will focus on the facts and scenarios that create the most interesting narrative for their viewers. Sure, they report the facts from both sides, but their subsequent interpretation and analysis always paints a focused, coherent story - a story that is not always in favor of your candidate.

Mathematically speaking, Obama remains ahead with a clear lead. However, it is the media narrative that will shape public and (by extension) Superdelegate opinion. If public opinion shifts strongly toward Clinton, then the Superdelegates have what some would see as a legitimate reason to support her - that despite earlier voting, Clinton is now the favorite.

So on this new day I think we can make certain assumptions about what the media coverage will look like and some suggestions for the Obama campaign on how to affect it.

1. Clinton is now the "Comeback Kid." The story is now one where she is repeatedly pushed to the edge of the cliff but never all the way over. Such a perspective results in questioning Obama's ability to deliver the "knock-out punch" that he himself admits is necessary to "defeat the champ." Skeptics will ask, "If he can't defeat Hillary, how can he defeat the Republicans?"

2. Unless Obama or Clinton give the media something else to focus on, the Obama scrutiny will continue. The story the media paints is driven by the latest information and each campaign's subsequent reaction. So if Obama can't provide something new - something that directs attention back toward Clinton - then the "empty suit," "showhorse candidate," "unable to win in key states" language will continue to fly over the airwaves.

3. Obama needs to convey a tone of forceful, trustworthy class in responding to the Clinton camp. Further, he needs to find a new line of attack against Clinton to use in coordination with his responses. He needs to give her something new to defend herself about. This will be especially difficult because he must walk the fine line of "attack" versus "contrast" - a line that Clinton has the ability to ignore (her campaign is not necessarily built upon maintaining cleanliness).

4. Obama must convince the media that they bought into Clinton's "everyone loves Obama" trap - that they have been fooled into going too easy on her and too harsh on him. Again, he must shift the negative focus toward Clinton in order to put her on the defensive.

5. Obama must convince as many Superdelegates as possible to pledge their support NOW. If the 50 or so Superdelegates he supposedly had in his pocket still come out to endorse him within the next 24 hours, it would effectively blunt Hillary's momentum by giving the media a new angle on the issue - that the Democratic Party has decided it is now time to gather around one candidate if they are to effectively face John McCain.

6. Obama must address how his campaign responds to attacks in order to avoid the misinformation that took place in responding to the NAFTA issue. You cannot answer reporters without checking the facts - because even if you're not a liar it certainly makes you look like one.

Your thoughts? Comment below!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on regarding the ulterior motives of the press. The swing in tone snowballed as media organizations realized that their plump story line would evaporate if Clinton bowed out. But it seems to be presented with a wink and a nod as most stories seem to point out the mathematical improbability of her winning the nomination via pledged delegates.

The good news is that Ohio and Texas were not blowouts and that the mathematics have not really changed.