In this election year, the new media are emerging not just as democratic, but also as Democractic -- in the capital D sense.
The Obama campaign is using the internet as a resource like no other candidate has done before. These days, getting elected is a matter of knowing not only how to market a candidate but where: the medium matters.
Barack “Scarlett Johansson loves me” Obama and his supporters are reaching out to the young, hip market with endorsements like these from YouTube – one slightly more polished
(and considerably less obnoxious) than the other.
The whole fixation with media started with the advent of TV as a marketing tool, during the The Great Debate of 1960. To those who watched the presidential debate on TV, the green but exceedingly telegenic John F. Kennedy was deemed the winner by a landslide. Yet the verdict among those who heard the debate on the radio (but lacked visuals) was that Nixon prevailed.
Now, the candidate’s chosen medium has almost become a metaphor for his values. Whereas we equate Obama’s internet pre-eminence with novelty and innovation, McCain shows his alignment with the old school by sticking with the more traditional TV and radio.
It seems McCain even aims to subvert the positive connotations of internet marketing by evoking distrust in the medium as a breeding ground for those seeking instant fame but with minimal substance. In a recent TV ad, McCain goes so far as to equate his opponent with Hollywood bimbos like Britney Spears. Perhaps McCain forgot his own sterling endorsement from a similarly vapid quasi-celeb?
48 years later, is Obama the Millenials’ Kennedy ( young, handsome, relatively inexperienced, and dominating new media) to McCain’s Nixon (stodgy and rough around the edges)?
We’ll refrain from predicting a parallel outcome in this election, but we applaud Obama for embracing the gamut of media available to him. And as long as he doesn’t claim he invented it, he should fare better than the Dems’ 2000 candidate. Sorry, Al.