Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shut Up And Listen

Here's a new communications strategy for Obama, shut up and listen.


From what I can tell in this article, Obama seeks return to campaign-style discipline, Obama has no ability to learn lessons from real world experience.

Some excerpts below:
More direct, rapid response to criticism. Through blog postings on the White House Web site by a small cast of Obama aides and unsolicited e-mails from press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted to the White House's vast press list, the administration seeks to more quickly and widely counter perceived misinformation. And Gibbs has finally resorted to Twitter.
Seriously, how thin-skinned is this man that rather than an intelligent and modulated response to "criticism", they're going to do rapid response via blast emails? Not presidential.
More events at which the president speaks directly to the public without the filter of the media, including town hall meetings around the country as well as such events as a recent online question-and-answer session streamed on YouTube and a televised live exchange with House Republicans.
That's rich. Like the "filter of the media" has been all that negative. And Obama is really going to have a "real" question and answer session when he won't do that with the professional press corp?...
Carefully choreographed interactions with the press. Instead of holding news conferences, which can cover many topics and put reporters in competition with the president for the spotlight, the Obama team is trying to place a premium on its media interactions.

The article is very forthright in stating that Obama is in perpetual campaign mode because that is what is his attempting to do with his "communications strategy" - repeat the "success" of his campaign.
Aides insist that the focus on high-impact interviews doesn't mean the president is avoiding the White House press corps. Several reporters from news organizations that regularly cover the White House, including The Associated Press, were among the 161 interviews Obama gave in his first year in office — more than three times the number granted by former President George W. Bush, for instance.

But the White House has been willing to circumvent some of the traditional communications channels that long have defined the relationship between the president and the media. The president went nearly seven months without a formal news conference before making a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room last week. Obama also has been less willing of late to answer questions in informal settings.

Pfeiffer said the White House is simply trying to update itself to reflect modern times and technology. So that means going to Web-only publications such as Talking Points Memo while also using Facebook, specialty magazines and TV outlets.

"The fundamental structure of communications at the White House and the outlets for presidential communication were largely the same when we came to office as they were when Jimmy Carter came to office," he said.

Still, Pfeiffer acknowledged that even the administration's best efforts can accomplish only so much.

"There is no communications strategy that makes 10 percent unemployment look good," he said.
I have to ask, was his campaign all that successful based on the "communications strategy". Given the profoundly positive media coverage he got, I'd say his "strategy" had nothing to do with it. The reports (covered here on this blog) of Obama's campaign directing supporters to flood radio interviews with hostile callers when anyone went on air to discuss Obama's shadier connections, the complete lack of interest in the print and TV news outlets in reporting on any of Obama's less-than-savory connections, beliefs, and policies had NOTHING to do with any "strategy" and everything to do with the media's complicity in promoting mendacity because it came in a leftwing, politically-correct package.

The media ignored proof of disreputable-at-best campaign practices such as turning off credit card checks to allow a flood of foreign campaign donations. And speaking of campaign donations, how "successful" is a political campaign that spends nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars but only wins by around 5%?

Finally, it is absurd to think that it is Obama's "communication" skills that will improve the progressive/liberal/democrats policies. The policies suck. The policies are not what Americans are willing to pay for. But Obama does not have the mental agility to wrap his head or ego around this fact. He can talk all he wants but that just digs his hole deeper.

Because at the heart of this assumption that it is the "communication" that has to change rather than the policies, is Obama's belief that the American people are stupid sheep that can be lead anywhere if only the right Pied Piper plays the right tune.


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