Flooding the Zone
Jonathan Martin of Politico offers a good discussion today of President Obama's media strategy, and specifically his and his staff's efforts to bypass the White House Press Corps and communicate directly with particular constituencies and with people who derive news and views from nontraditional sources.
"Bypassing the filters," of course, was a hallmark of Obama's presidential campaign, which often found ways to bypass would-be gatekeepers of information and opinion, from the mainstream media to bloggers to interest-group chieftains.
But now that he's in power, Obama's approach to media has become much more comprehensive:
Unlike some of his predecessors, however, Obama and his aides tend not to boast about their media strategy or publicly exalt in how they are confronting or marginalizing the traditional news media.
To the contrary, Obama has continued to engage aggressively with the establishment outlets. The New York Times recently had an interview, and CBS News’ “60 Minutes” has conducted two long interviews with Obama since Election Day.
These sessions reflect Obama’s belief, according to aides, that in a fragmented media universe, presidents must communicate nearly constantly across an array of platforms, both traditional and new.
“You’ve got lots of people that aren’t cable junkies or news junkies,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, explaining the thinking behind the tailored media strategy. “This gives us the opportunity to reach a little bit different of a segment.”
Another top aide used a sports analogy for the comprehensive strategy: “Flood the zone.”
As recent developments have shown, Obama needs all the help he can get in communicating his message and agenda to a worried and skeptical America.