7 thoughts on “Is this really how it works?

  1. Joe Loveland says:

    If the event organizers didn’t want the Bachmann staffer to make the announcement, all he needed to say was “We’ve agreed to two debates so far, but the organizers of those two events asked us not to announce them so they could announce them on their time table. But I understand your situation and I’ll let both event organizers know that you’re interested in them making the annoucement as soon as possible, and that they should notify you when the announcement is made. It’s just not something under my control, but I’ll let them know of your interest. Stay tuned.”

    But this guy wanted to play games. It’s self-defeating media relations work. The flack is messing with a reporter, who buys bandwidth by the barrel, over a largely inconsequential issue. Whether his game-playing is borne of an arrogant power trip, inexperience, visceral hate of the allegedly “liberal media,” or a need to let event organizers make the announcement, he just made himself look foolish and gained a powerful enemy, or five…because reporters love to talk about such encounters and feed off each other.

    A press secretary’s role is not to do whatever the reporter wants, and it’s not to do whatever his campaign zealots want, which is usually to behead reporters. The job is to bridge the campaign’s needs and the reporters needs, so that the campaign gets its key messages out AND a constructive working relationship is maintained for future stories. This guy seems to have a different vision of the role.

  2. PM says:

    Joe, i think that you are generally correct–the role of almost every staff member in a political office is to serve as a bridge between the politician and the various constituencies (the press, in this case–sometimes it is with actual constituents, sometimes it is with other politicians, sometimes it is with various government agencies, etc.) in order to accomplish the goals of the office/politician. I.E., to get things done.

    Some politicians are intensely ideological, as opposed to being pragmatic. In those cases, the role of staff isn’t really so much to act as a bridge, as it is to really accurately reflect the ideological rigor of the politician (in this instance, the willingness to mess with those hated liberal media types). This is basic street cred to someone like Bachmann.

    A good working relationship with the press (the goal of any pragmatic politician) wouldn’t really be very helpful to bachmann, and might cause some of her constituents to question

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      You don’t have to be handing out candy and flowers to do good media relations. Common courtesy and decency does the trick.

      Ideologue or pragmatist, if you make reporters’ lives miserable for no good reason, you shouldn’t be shocked if they return the favor when they have the opportunity. And they frequently have the opportunity.

  3. Dennis Lang says:

    Appreciate JL and PM’s comments but to me it sounded like dialogue out of some Absurdist play.

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