Barack Obama is a man of eloquence and intelligence, traits that have been sorely missing for the last eight years in the White House. The media expect great things from President Obama in the aftermath of an Administration that enjoyed belittling the D.C. press corps and perfecting the old round-around of the national media.
As it turns out, Obama is no big fan of the press. Since the former Illinois Senator ran an impressive Internet-based campaign that is not exactly earth-shattering news. The surprise: Obama anticipates the same Internet strategy when he takes office next month.
Team-elect is wrong. When running for office, Obama was communicating to an energized base of supporters. He now must talk to the 46 percent of the electorate that did not vote for him. Non-Obama backers are not going to hunt the `Net for news of their government. Good old mainstream media is their preferred info outlet.
Any “screw the media strategy” is risky. One does not kick a dog when it is down. Just ask John McCain about ditching the media. When McCain ran against Bush in 2000, he famously called the media “his base.” The “give & take” on the campaign bus earned McCain some glowing media. He was a maverick indeed.
McCain’s campaign sunk into the muck only after political consultant Steve Schmidt took over and kicked the media gang off the bus and tightly controlled access to McCain. That effort backfired. Coverage toughened even before Sarah Palin was presented as a gift from the heavens for reporters. Joe “The Plumber” was icing on the cake. McCain imploded and his campaign's dying days were reduced to howling about media bias. Voters didn’t buy it.
Obama is entering office at a perilous time for the U.S. Antagonizing the media is the last thing that he should do.