By now you’ve most likely heard that Sen. Barack Obama has selected Sen. Joe Biden as his Vice Presidential running mate; but how did you hear about it?
If you’re a bit of a political junkie like I am, you probably heard it the same way you heard about Dick Cheney’s selection by George W. Bush… the traditional media. If you spent any time watching the 24-hour cable news channels on Friday or Saturday, just about all you saw was a series of talking heads chiming in on who they thought would be Obama’s choice. Some were right, some were wrong, but you just couldn’t help but notice a sense of cynicism whenever the talking head du jour mentioned the Obama campaign’s upcoming text message announcing the choice.
With camera crews camped outside each of the potential VP’s houses, the “traditional” TV news folks were determined to scoop the campaign’s text message announcement. Cable News’ last desperate stand to prove themselves better than any new fangled media. So the cable news strategy worked out for them, they scooped the campaign, proudly announcing that their sources and stake outs indicated that Sen. Biden would be the choice, and that this brave new world of new media was just a flash-in-the-pan, and the message to supporters first was an epic fail.
Ah, but was it really? The campaign generated so much coverage on each of the news channels, there was hardly a mention of Obama’s rival Sen. McCain on Friday. On top of that, the Obama campaign has collected untold thousands of cell phone numbers of highly interested people, an amazingly hard to come by resource these days. Thousands of numbers left out of almost every telephone poll, thousands of numbers to contact for support, volunteer efforts, and get-out-the-vote efforts. An exceedingly smart way to incorporate that third-screen into the campaign’s overall effort.
With an increasingly large number of people abandoning their land-line telephones, and the amount of noise in their email in boxes, mailboxes, and TV screens, the News Media may have won the battle, but the Obama campaign has may great strides in winning the war.