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Los Angeles Times Highlights Democrats' Need For A Better Media Strategy

Reported by Ellen - June 3, 2010 -

The Los Angeles Times reports that the current Democratic Congress has "compil(ed) a record of landmark policy changes in healthcare, financial industry regulation, economic policy and more." But at the same time, Congress' "sky high levels of disapproval" indicates "what may be a surprising failing for Democrats. For all President Obama's skills as a communicator and party leaders' skills inside the Beltway, (Democrats) have not done a good job communicating the virtues of their policies, even to potentially receptive voters... Critics say Democrats' policies could have gained more traction if the White House had a stronger commitment to promoting them."

This is the big frustration for me, a rock-solid Obama supporter, and, I suspect, the rest of us libs who pay close attention to the right wing and the right wing media. It seems that ever since last summer's town halls, they have seized control of the message and kept it. I don't know how else to explain the poll showing 40% of Americans and 67% of Republicans believe Obama is a socialist or that 1/5 of all Americans think he is "doing many things Hitler did." Whatever else you might say about right-wing loudmouths, you can't say they aren't masters at manipulating the media message. Of course, it helps to have a major news network at your back.

Unfortunately, there have been only token efforts from the Obama administration to shape the message and nothing to indicate there's any kind of real plan to take it back. The result is we keep hearing about Sestak's "job offer" (now Romanoff, too) despite George W. Bush's former Attorney General (and others) having said there's no there there. Even the BP oil spill has been framed as whether or not this is Obama's Katrina, not as an example of the kind of lax regulation policies Obama is supposedly trying to remediate.

Obviously, I'm biased but for me it's always "the media, stupid." I get the impression from the White House that they think it's "the stupid media." Not that they're mutually exclusive, but we're already seeing the results of mere disdain. It's time to learn how to deal.

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