Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Can Hillary Dodge Press? Maybe.

The national media has copied ans pasted a page from the Deeth Blog, and is starting its own Hillary calendar.
Sorry, Post,but I own that meme and I owned that meme for 2446 days.

Of course, eventually Hillary made me take my Days Since Iowa counter down, and eventually she will do at least some interviews somewhere.

But with all the changes we're already seeing, all the emphasis on Being Real, all the reaching out, the 50 State Staffer Strategy, and all the other ways Hillary 2015 is emphatically not Hillary 2007, one thing hasn't changed. The relationship with professional journalists is still, to understate it, distant.

And the emphasis on the new beginning has been so strong that it seems to me that this is not an accident. It's a strategy. There will be some token interviews, sure, and she won't make the mistake of no-commenting a nine year old. But I expect the media strategy to be Screw The Media.

I'm not sure what the original roots of the three plus decade feud between the Clintons and the media are, but it's real. I think it's in part a matter of conflicting values. Journalists feel they have the right to know everything, and Hillary Clinton likes to play her cards close.

Journalists may be the only people less popular with the public than politicians. And much like key activists in Iowa, they're a group that values their privileged place in the process, to the point where it can seem self-important. (Guilty.) 

Journalists also care about different issues than Real People. I can write her rebuttal now: "Nobody in Iowa asked me about email. They asked me about jobs and education and a path to citizenship."

And the media can't win that fight by bringing it up again and again and again, any more than they could get Mitt Romney to release his tax returns. Real People get bored with it, and the press looks whiny.

Let's face it, did Joni Ernst really pay any price for skipping out on editorial boards last year? Does anyone under 75 who's not a politics junkie even care who a paper endorses?

Dealing with the traditional media just takes Clinton off message. There's very little upside for her. She sits down with any media outlet anywhere tomorrow or next week or next month, she gets Homebrew Server and Foreign Donations and nothing but. She does a town hall, she gets the stuff she actually wants to talk about.

Clinton also has a broad path around the traditional media. More than most politicians, she has a walk on hot coals for Hillary level of support, and those folks think the media is out to get her. And her challengers, on issues or for votes, can easily be addresses in unfiltered public statements rather than through interviews. She can say a lot in 140 characters.

In the social media era, the role of the traditional journalist in politics is shrinking. People, especially young people, get their news from their friend's feeds. And they TRUST their friends more than they trust some old reporter.

Anyone with a well-followed Twitter account can get a "scoop" as easily as the top political reporter in the state, if it's fed to them. Why hand it to a paper when you can hand it to a key activist - or, if you're a key activist, why not do it yourself?

Running against the media has long been a successful strategy for Republicans.  Obviously, it's not a strategy I, as a former professional journalist, can endorse.

But it might be a strategy that will work.

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