GOP 2 MSM: TTYL

The National Republican Senatorial Committee discovers the not-so-new new media.


Tim Grieve
June 14, 2007 5:30PM (UTC)

The Wall Street Journal says the Republicans' prospects for 2008 are looking "dim," with Americans giving the GOP "their most negative assessment in the two-decade history" of the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Maybe this will help: As the Politico reports, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has come up with a 39-page playbook to teach GOP candidates how to weather the not-so-new new-media world.

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"Rapid response and explanation of a position or vote to friendly blogs can ensure center-right solidarity behind your defense," the playbook says. "The paradigmatic example of the failure to do is the 'macaca' moment. Conservative blogs, who had long been lauding Sen. George Allen, were annoyed by shifting justifications and turned on Allen with a vengeance."

So how do Republicans avoid that sort of thing next time around? Assume that you're always on video and make sure that your opponent really is. Court the top national conservative bloggers and a local one or two. Pay attention to your "eResearch strategy" and your "eCommunications strategy," and go and get yourself an "ePress Secretary."

If you're thinking that this all sounds like some sort of 1950s guidebook to help squares understand that crazy rock 'n' roll, well, you're eRight. Here's how the guidebook breaks it down:

Old method of communicating campaign message to public:

  1. Campaign decides on press release and talking points on certain issue;
  2. Press Secretary sends mass email/fax of press release to main stream media (MSM);
  3. Possible news story on issue/race/candidate/opponent;
  4. RESULT: Voters hear about issue/race/candidate/opponent through local paper or local news station.

New method of communicating campaign message to public:

  1. Campaign decides on message points and strategy for certain issue;
  2. ePress Secretary sends talking points and information to the blog editors that they have established relationships with;
  3. Campaign emails specific message to supporters -- using 'forward to a friend' website features to take advantage of viral nature of email;
  4. Candidate posts video on message;
  5. Blog community posts opinions on issues related to the race and the candidate;
  6. More blogs link to the first blog and give their own opinions on the issue/candidate/opponent;
  7. Buzz builds around issue/candidate/opponent in online community;
  8. MSM (main stream media) hear about buzz and write story about the issue/candidate/opponent;
  9. RESULT: Voters hear about issue/candidate/opponent through blog community, local newspaper, local news station, national media, email, website, etc.

Oh, and there's this: "DO NOT ENGAGE HOSTILE, LIBERAL BLOGS DIRECTLY -- doing so only legitimizes them. Additionally, monitor hostile, liberal blogs and keep a document that tracks their inaccuracies and mistakes -- if possible be sure to capture screen images of these mistakes. This documentation will be useful down the road to delegitimize these blogs as a source for reliable information to the mainstream media."

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Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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