Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Using the News

Atrios strikes a thought with me:

Now, I would sadly admit that part of the problem is that the Democrats still haven't managed to work the media machine. The deck is certainly stacked against them, but they could do a lot better. They need to figure out how to work with existing narratives to their advantage, and how to occasionally seize the moment to create their own. Given the hostility of the media and their lack of power that's a challenge, but something they need to learn how to do. Opportunties materialize and they fail to make use of them. It's depressing.

Republicans are very good at this. In fact, its a rare day when a news event doesn't happen that at least one or two prominent Republicans don't attempt to spin it around to their agenda. This results, sometimes, in laughable statements (remember when Gingrich tried to blame the Susan Smith case on Welfare?) But for each of those there are a hundred examples of spin that aren't immediately laughed off and/or stay below the national media radar.

The problem is that Democrats avoid using current events as the launching point for presenting their own narrative either out of ignorance, a misguided sense of honor or a desire not to make the kind of mistakes Gingrich did (which is why so many of them cringed at the recent Dean hoopla). But maybe the gains to be made from creating this kind of political narrative makes taking the risk worthwhile?

Something to consider.


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