Read the whole thing. The idea of “citizen-journalism” is quite nearly alien to the consultant class. The teamwork concept of voluntary collaboration mystifies people for whom politics is a paid gig. Take away their consulting fees, and these guys wouldn’t have anything to do with politics.
Which is exactly why the Ruling Party and Ruling Class “professionals’ who manage campaigns don’t want anything to do with blogs.
First, they are used to selling their services for a great deal of money, and the justification they offer for such high fees is that they can craft a winning message and create a winning brand. What they really bill themselves as being is messaging managers.
And as such, they don’t think in terms of small venue messaging. They make state or national buys of advertising in order to purvey carefully crafted, controlled messages as widely as possible. The horribly failed efforts by Karl Rove and his huge PAC are a perfect example of what I’m talking about – they spent hundreds of millions of dollars and lost just about every race they tried to win.
Because with these people it is, once again, all about control. The notion of “unpaid” curls their hair with horror, because without holding the whip hand of a paycheck, how can they make sure that a blogger is going to say what they want him to say, and in the way they want him to say it? But bloggers are by their very nature almost impossible to control. You can’t cut off their access to their readership if they don’t follow the party line, and if you aren’t paying them, then you have no leverage over them at all.
Worse, even if you are paying bloggers to push your message, and their readershup discovers that fact, then their effectiveness is more or less destroyed, because they lose the trust of the very people they are intended to influence. The infamous left wing “journolisters” attempted to craft and control blog messaging, but as soon as their little mailing list was exposed to the light of day, that effort collapsed as well.
Look at it from a consultant’s point of view: Would you hire a bunch of maniacs like Bill Quick, Stacy McCain, and Jeff Goldstein to push your message when you have absolutely no idea what “pushing your message” might mean in actual practice?
Way back in the day, when I worked for the Kennedy organization during the RFK campaign, we paid black preachers to preach sermons on election day recommending a vote for our candidate, and to hire buses to get their congregations to the polls. In a way, those black preachers then were quite similar to bloggers today – they directly reached an audience of a few hundred to a few thousand, were highly trusted by that audience, and tended to be able to push a single effective message – “vote for this candidate” – with success. Finally, the black preachers generally supported RFK and Democrats as a basic rule of thumb.
Am I recommending that political consultants stop by Casa Quick with brown paper bags full of hundred dollar bills?
Not exactly. But it wouldn’t hurt political campaigns to start thinking on how to achieve similar results with what are the modern, secular equivalents of the black preachers of the 1960s. Back then it was called retail politics, and it was well understood. But it is a mystery to the big money consultancies that run campaigns today.