Rove Knows What The Media Likes: ABC Radio’s Case Study
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I’ve got what boys like
—The Waitresses, from “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?”
A week before Dr. Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton’s medical status some friends and I were discussing how the left doesn’t aggressively pursue certain media strategies. I responded with a rant about all the roadblocks that are in place or thrown up by organizations and individuals to block certain ideas. They might be happy to benefit from the results but don’t want to hire, pay for or provide legal and technical support for people who can pull it off. Then they see what Rove did and bemoan their inability to do the same.
I’ve told my clients in the past, “You want to make headlines? Burn down your building.” They laugh, but file that nugget away. If I was an arsonist, and they wanted to collect insurance money and help the stock tank, that might have been some excellent and profitable advice.
If you want to, you can create all sorts of stories that are media friendly and move an idea or story forward. But your side, company or cause has to have the right personality to do it. I’ve pretty much given up on suggesting how to create certain types of stories to some groups. They don’t want the risk. Great, I get that, but later when they are talking about how the right is great with messaging and the media I want to say, “No they aren’t. They just know what the media likes and gives it to them. You could too. But it takes brains, courage and support.”
If you aren’t going to make your own news, can you beat back their news? Yes! Follow my friends at Media Matters. But trying to get the media to be better is not as effective as using their needs for your own purposes. But it might weaken the next story the right wing pushes. They might look up a second source or reframe a story.
Here is today’s case study. This morning I heard ABC Radio News at 10:00 on the right wing station KSFO in SF. It was about Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton. I tried to find the audio on line, but it was not up yet in SF. However, the same story was up on the ABC Radio website. The story had a very different tone than the one I heard on KSFO. Later, I got the audio from the KSFO broadcast. I was right. Although it was the same story, the intros were very different. One was tailored to the right wing station, the other for a more mainstream audience. I put them together in a video so you can hear the differences. Then, if you are so inclined you can tweet at ABCradio and ask, “Hey what’s the deal?”
Will calling their attention to this have any impact for the next time the right wing feeds them the kind of juicy stories they like? Maybe. Remember, they have a reporter dedicated to Hillary. Or maybe they will just wonder why we haven’t figured out what they like.