. . . Wednesday September 15, 2004

Disasters: Natural and Otherwise

I spent an hour or two watching the cable news networks this morning so that I could get an update on which stories were making it through to the masses on an hour by hour basis.

The only political story (or even politically-related story) I saw was short piece on, you guessed it, the questions surrounding the National Guard memos featured in a the CBS piece. Guess how much that story (either way it turns out) helps John Kerry campaign? (Hint: Zilch.)

Today’s television news is being dominated by the approach of Hurricane Ivan. John Kerry had virtually no room to break through with his message for the day. These news cycles are one of the reasons politicians are advised to hammer home a series of concise messages over and over and over.

Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any worse for the Kerry media team, Martha Stewart held a press conference in which she explained that she wants to start her jail sentence as soon as possible: “I would like to be back as early in March as possible to plant a spring garden and to truly get things growing again.”

This brief glimpse of a day in the television news cycle points out just how critical it is that a candidate own his or her message and uses every spare media moment to get that message out to the masses. So far, the Kerry team has had a lot of difficulty in both honing the message and in getting it out there (some of that is the fault of issues from weather to war and some of that is their own fault).

There will be plenty of events over the next seven weeks that will distract voters and compete for media mindshare. How John Kerry and his team react now will determine whether he will be spending next year in the Oval Office or helping Martha plant her spring garden.

Concentration is important!