Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. HereÔŅĹs how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

The campaign media buddies

By Walt Brasch - posted Friday, 31 October 2008


It’s just a couple of days before the presidential election, and I’m worried about what happens afterwards. I’m not worried about the candidates, the people, or the country. I’m worried about the media.

First, I’m worried about the TV ad salespeople. For more than a year they haven’t had to do much other than sit back and open digital files from the politicians. Now, the salespeople will actually have to go to work to fill airtime.

I’m worried about the owners of TV stations. Since January, politicians have placed more than a billion dollars of advertising. Most of that has gone to TV ads, at least in Pennsylvania and the other swing states. Revenue is bound to be down, and the station owners may have to make drastic changes. We can’t expect them to cut back on their golf club memberships, the leased BMWs, or the daily maid service. It looks like they’ll have to lay off reporters. Some may think that the words “TV” and “reporter” probably don’t even make sense in the same sentence, but that’s for another column.

Advertisement

And, speaking of reporters, let’s look at all the reporters. Print and broadcast. For as much as two years, they have been hanging onto political candidates, like leeches onto the butts of subtropical hunters.

These reporters have had to stay in sleazy three and four-star hotels, eat room service food, awaken early every day, pack their suitcases, and rush to a press bus that would be their travelling home for 12 or 14 hours every day. On the bus they talked with each other - and some poorly-paid and generally inexperienced campaign press aide. Occasionally, the candidates and senior staff rode the buses and talked with the reporters.

At the speech site, the reporters were herded into a fairly good viewing position, and expected to do whatever it is that compliant reporters do. If they interviewed anyone other than campaign staff, it was usually someone in the audience, grabbing such great lines as “I really like Shmidhouse Jones for President” or “I don’t trust that guy he’s running against”.

Away from speeches, they munched on campaign-provided lunches and drinks, they had campaign-provided news releases and speech transcripts, and campaign-provided concierge service. If case they missed an important ad-lib, they just had to wait for the next stop, where they’d hear it again.

Late at night, if they have any energy left - and while they have plugged in their Blackberries, iPods, cell phones, and laptops to draw new energy for a new day - the reporters and campaign staff had a couple of drinks, “just to unwind.”

The goal of political campaigns is to keep reporters so busy, and so comforted, they won’t ask the critical questions or take the time to find the “invisible people” and their very real problems.

Advertisement

For a month after the election, reporters will file “What happened?” stories. After a month, they’ll get “home leave” to be reintroduced to their children, who may have thought Mummy or Daddy were sprites locked up in cell phones. Hopefully, the reporters will also reflect upon why they became reporters, and actually take the time to meet someone who doesn’t hang around politicians and reporters all day long.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

3 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. He is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and author of 16 books. Dr. Brasch's current books are Unacceptable: The Federal Governmentís Response to Hurricane Katrina; Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture; and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Nov. 2007) You may contact him at brasch@bloomu.edu.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Walt Brasch

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 3 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy