Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Needed on Sunday Morning Talk Shows: Dems With Guts and Brains

It is a common refrain on the progressive and Democratic blogs that the media is dominated by conservatives and that is why only one side is heard on television. There is some truth to this claim, but another reason why the Dems don't get their message out is that they don't take the opportunity to frame the issues when they get the chance.

An example recently was the John Edwards affair. If a prominent Democrat on one of the talk shows had told the host that he or she wanted to comment on John Edwards, then they would have been asked about Edwards.

At that point, he or she could have said something like, "Who's the bigger cad, Edwards or McCain? Well, let's look at the record. John McCain had an affair with a younger woman, so did Edwards. John McCain had an affair while his wife was recovering from a serious medical condition, so did Edwards. John McCain leaves his wife after she is disfigured in a car accident, Edwards stays with his wife. Now, how are they different? Well, John McCain left his wife, John Edwards didn't. John McCain used the inherited money of a much younger trophy wife to run for office, John Edwards didn't. John McCain offers up his wife as a contestant in a beauty contest at a bikers' rally, John Edwards didn't. John McCain reportedly uses a foul epithat to describe his wife, John Edwards doesn't. So who's the bigger cad?"

Or how about this? What if a prominent Democrat had compared Edwards, McCain, and Obama? McCain has an affair, Edwards has an affair, Obama doesn't. McCain violates his marriage vows, Edwards violates his marriage vows, Obama doesn't.

If a prominent Democrat had gone on a television talk show and laid some of that stuff down, the news reports would have been talking about it for the next 24-48 hours along with the Edwards stuff.

The same is true on the "hot white chicks" ad. Some white Dem should do for Obama what Gergen did when he talked about the coded langauge in the McCain ads. He or she should accuse McCain of playing the "race card" by appealing to the fears of whites, and in particular white males. Again, it would make news.

The above would be headline news on the 24 hour news programs. It wouldn't be because they want to help Dems or Obama, but because they need the product. The producers of the 24 hour cable news shows need product, they need something to talk about for 24 hours a day. Republicans understand this and give them product, but Democrats don't seem to get it. The problem isn't all the media, the problem is not enough Dems have the guts and brains needed to play the media's game

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