Monday, September 15, 2008

who controls the message?

I think we all agree that too much information clearly trumps not enough information. Still, New York Times columnist Adam Nagourney brings up an interesting question today regarding the unintended consequences of our ever-expanding marketplace of ideas -- especially with regard to the current presidential campaign.

Amidst the fog of "blog postings, cable television headlines, television advertisements, speeches by other candidates and surrogates, video press releases, screaming e-mailed charges and counter-charges — not to mention the old-fashioned newspaper article or broadcast report on the evening news", Nagourney suggests that both presidential campaigns are more than a little bit flummoxed in figuring out how to proceed.

Clearly, the message is no longer in the control of either the campaigns or the journalists who cover them.

I think the bigger question regards the voters themselves and how they will filter all that the media -- using that term in the widest possible sense -- serves up on a minute-by-minute basis. (and don't forget You also have to wonder if the same expanded marketplace that has brought us both fact and fiction will also allow the so-called wisdom of the crowds to prevail.

Meanwhile, however, here's what Nagourney sees as the biggest challenge facing each campaign:

"... the ways in which the proliferation of communications channels, the fracturing of mass media and the relentless political competition to own each news cycle are combining to reorder the way voters follow campaigns and decide how to vote. It has reached a point where senior campaign aides say they are no longer sure what works, as they stumble through what has become a daily campaign fog, struggling to figure out what voters are paying attention to and, not incidentally, what they are even believing."

1 comment:

Lotta K said...

I think it's also a matter of too much feedback, in the sense of too much polling, too many random emails from viewers read on CNN, etc. When the campaigns say they don't know 'what works', they rely on that type of feedback to determine whether 'it' worked. They want the feedback fast, and we end up with too many unreliable new 'truths' like the one you wrote about before, the white women who don;t really exist.