Steve Dinan at the Washington Times writes about John McCain’s campaign’s blog outreach strategy. My take on the whole thing is summed up in my quote:
“I don’t think the people at DailyKos are going to treat John McCain mercifully, but I think the fact that people get their question heard makes them dial it back a bit,” said Soren Dayton, a blogger who worked briefly for the McCain campaign and now works at a public affairs company, New Media Strategies.
Yesterday, you see, a couple of liberal bloggers were invited to McCain’s regular blog conference calls in which he fields questions from bloggers for about an hour. One blogger, one of the Momocrats, a blog that lives at the intersection of two lively blogospheres, mommy blogs and the lefty nutroots, made the point most effectively:
“The fact that I could ask my question and have it smacked down is farther than a lot of people could get,” she said.
In the case of both Barack Obama and McCain, there is a kind of “medium is the message” thing going on. By inviting lefties, especially lefties who are read by the entire mainstream media like Talking Points Memo, it drills home the message that John McCain is for openness. At the same time, Obama is dodging questions and calling reporters sweetie. Just looking through comments on these blogs, and chatting with some media types, reporters and bloggers are hearing that message. Why won’t Obama answer questions from reporters? Why won’t Obama answer questions from bloggers? Why did Obama’s new media person resign because he couldn’t get access? Etc., etc., etc.
The media is still in love with Obama. But we have 6 months for them to not get to ask questions and write unfair stories. I suspect that somewhere around the convention, they are going to have to start writing serious stories about Obama, just like they did about John Kerry. Then it will be a whole new ballgame.