Is Traditional Media Becoming Irrelevent? The New Way Politicians Control Message

From Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror:

When Republican Linda McMahon joins New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at rallies in Stamford, Waterbury and Glastonbury Monday, it will be the first time her U.S. Senate campaign has widely publicized her schedule in four weeks.

The last time the McMahon campaign issued an advisory to the media in advance of a campaign appearance was Sept. 28, when she appeared with Sen. John McCain of Arizona at a veterans’ hall in Danbury and a hotel in Norwalk.

McMahon’s second campaign for U.S. Senate may be extreme in how it limits press access, but consultants and politicians say the McMahon approach is becoming closer to the norm, heralding a post-media political era.

“The amount of money and brute force that money buys, they don’t need the media,” said Rich Hanley, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University. “They can go directly to the electorate with TV, emails and direct mail.”

Chris LaCivita, a senior consultant to McMahon’s campaign, cast the shrinking role of the press in the modern campaign as progress, a natural consequence of social media and campaign websites that ease unfiltered voter contact.

“No one in their right mind can say the amount information is less or not as specific than it was 15 years ago,” LaCivita said. “The difference is that it is conveyed without the interpretation of TV news or newspapers.”

Ultimately, every campaign is a fight over message, a battle waged daily–increasingly, hour to hour, minute to minute. The media is an unscripted element that campaigns try to control, though few as carefully as McMahon.

Since Aug. 22, McMahon’s campaign has given advance notice of her whereabouts only five times, including an advisory of her three rallies with Christie.

Democrat Chris Murphy, whose schedule was not regularly shared for weeks after the disclosure that he had been sued for missed rental and mortgage payments, now is available daily to the media, as is his campaign schedule.

“Where’s Linda today?” Murphy likes to ask, drawing a contrast with McMahon. “Where was she yesterday?”

Read more here.


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