Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The White House's messaging end-run

The White House has begun to use their official blog to drive and reinforce its messaging on critical priorities like health care, yet more evidence of its demonstrated commitment to end-run traditional media filters.

Since late October, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer has penned 11 pieces for the blog -- ranging in topic from a fact-checking item on a Charles Krauthammer column on health care to a preview of the economic speech that President Obama delivered earlier today.

"We are always looking for new ways navigate the hyper-kinetic new media universe and communicate about the President's agenda," explained Pfeiffer. "The media is so diffuse with so many sources reporting so often that many of traditional tools of communications are rendered obsolete."

That lesson -- like so many of the guiding principles of the Obama Administration -- was learned by the president and his senior staff during the primary and general election campaigns of 2008.

Using social networking, text messaging and other technological advancements -- You Tube etc. -- candidate Obama was able to communicate with millions of people directly rather than having to negotiate the traditional media sources to push out a message, break news or rebut a negative story.

That approach has carried over to the Obama Administration in a variety of ways, most notably, perhaps, in the decision to turn the long-ignored Saturday radio address of the President into a potent newsmaker/message driver simply by videotaping it and uploading it to You Tube.

Pfeiffer's elevated role on the White House blog is rightly seen as an extension of this strategy -- taking the Administration's preferred message of the day directly to not only its supporters around the country but also the well-coordinated liberal interest groups whose sole aim is to amplify that message.

Take Pfeiffer's post this past Monday previewing Obama's economic speech. "There is no topic the President brings up more in the Oval Office than putting Americans back to work, and this Tuesday the President takes another step as part of his overall effort to jump start job growth for Americans," he wrote.

That sentence was aped -- either directly or indirectly -- hundreds of time by talking heads on cable, liberal bloggers and other Administration officials between the time it was posted at 4 am on Monday morning and when the President delivered his address at Brookings today.

Pfeiffer's blog post effectively served then as message marching orders -- disseminated not through a quote or two in the Washington Post or the New York Times but in full form and thought through the viral world of the web. Any Democrat who wanted to know exactly what the White House's talking points were in the runup to today's speech could see it within minutes of it being posted.

Obama proved during the campaign that he and his senior staff were often a step ahead of the pack in terms of their understanding of how to effectively communicate with their supporters without the aid of traditional media channels. They continue to push those boundaries effectively.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 8, 2009; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The most important number in politics today
Next: Fix Poll: Best campaign of 2009?

Comments

At least CC has finally started to talk about the Dems in an informative way, instead of GOP, 24/7, which was ludicrous considering they are the minority in both houses.

==

I'm as disgusted as I can be with the Republican Rising crap, especially as it's so insulting to the intelligence to pretend excitement over boring people like Tim Pawlenty or sickies like Sarah Palin.

I need to remind myself—hourly—that CC did some really excellent reporting last year in the campaign, and—daily—nurture hope that the bridle is loosened some day and that good work shows up again.

It's not showing in breathless excitement over Mitch Daniels or insults to the intelligence about Palin's popularity among swine.

Washington Post was once a great paper. One of the great half-dozen. Most are gone .. WSJ is taken over by an Australian propagandist with no regard for honest, NYT is struggling, WaPo publishes op-eds by revealed liars like William Kristol and Sarah Palin with all the aplomb accorded to respectable people.

I try to get my news from nonpartisan sites but this paper is comparable to the Moonie Times now. The Palin oped was a watershed, an insult to the intelligence that will be very hard to undo.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 9, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Why shouldn't the Prez reach out to the voters through other tech media outlets? CC asked way back in the spring whether the Prez was risking the ire of media movers and shakers who typically set the conventional wisdom for a Presidency when he ignored some "embedded" WH press people and called on non-traditional media outlets at a presser. YES, he was, but it was just another CHANGE that CC and others don't quite understand yet. Just like the month end release of WH visitor logs, or the DEM big donors complaining that they aren't getting the access and perks to the WH they thought their donations would get them. So many of the guy reporters/bloggers here at wapo are stuck in the Beltway mindset, they're thinking business as usual, what happened in the past will happen again, (as in GOP resurgence like '94). They are totally discounting and ignoring the change that last years' election brought. They don't get that people who typically don't vote in mid-terms realize how important it is to vote, and what their vote and $20 donation can bring change. All this talk about the GOP base and rallying it, well all the hate and anger directed at the Prez that these dems and independents worked so hard to elect is rallying the base on the left. The GOP and it's angry, hate filled rallies only serve to insult the choice and intelligence of these voters. and after 8 disasterous years, they aren't looking to give back power to the GOP anytime soon. The partisan obstructionism by GOP law makers isn't going to attract these voters. and Perry Bacon actually said he would be surprised if blacks came out and voted next year, obviously going on past conventional wisdoms, and past mid-terms. Just like the polls said last year that it would be a close election, they were wrong too. Scott McClennan talked about this mindset in his book, and guys like CC and Perry are dooming themselves to irrelevancy if they don't get it. At least CC has finally started to talk about the Dems in an informative way, instead of GOP, 24/7, which was ludicrous considering they are the minority in both houses.

Posted by: katem1 | December 9, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Typical weasel-like posting from a well-known weasel.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 9, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm with the guy that spent $3700 to get new windows and is reaping the benefits. Two years ago we spent about the same to put new windows and a new patio door in our home. Our story is the opposite of my friend below. This summer we had at least 100 days here in Arizona that the temperature was at least 100 degrees. Yet our AC bill was close to half of what we spent in previous years. In addition, we spent most of the summer in Arizona, something we are not a costumed to do. Most every year we spent at least six weeks away from here. Now the heat comes on every now and than (WE do not need much heat here, just a bit in the morning and late at night)but again, not half as much as in previous years. It was a big expense for us retired people but it has worked out for us and for the environment.

Posted by: Opa2 | December 9, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

@nodebris: dental care is for delicate elitists from liberal cults like SF and NYC. Real men have beer guts and gaps in their grimaces.

With Doug Hoffman's triumph still reverberating among conservatives, the true believers are burning their Sonicares in a huge bonfire, dancing around in a great rite of passage.

And this is so close to not even being a joke.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 9, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Would "Teeheehee" have been more acceptable to your delicate sensibilities?

Posted by: JakeD | December 9, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

You have to have lost all perspective to try arguing against caulk and insulation. Next I guess they'll go after dental care, elbow grease, and sobriety.

Posted by: nodebris | December 9, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

But tomorrow is global warming and saving the world from that menace with caulking and installation.

==

Don't be so quick to mock small measures, Gomer.

I put $3700 of new windows in my house earlier this year .. now it's 22° outside and my heater is only coming on a few minutes at a time. I will save over half the cost this year alone, emitting hundreds of pounds less CO2 as a result.

You jerkoffs were making fun of tire gauges last year .. but people who took note and started inflating their tires better saved lots on gas. And emitted less carbon.

I don't expect Republican creeps to care about anything but the wealthy, but one would think you'd have SOME care for your own worthless well-being.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Once again an emotionally disturbed adolescent monopolizes the board with teener IM-speak. It was so much better here when this cretin was off in detox or wherever.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

LOL

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"Too bad you didn't bet."

Like he'd pay off.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Too bad you didn't bet.

In other news, CNN is reporting that 10 Senators have agreed on a "broad" healthcare reform bill?!

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 12:16 PM: Wanna bet that the market loses AT LEAST a hundred more points after Obama speaks?

It didn't.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

We all know that the administration is good at getting out the message. Of course this is important for a President when the only agenda item is using the Presidency for his campaign for reelection.

Remember how we told that duct tape would save us from terrorists.

Now we are told that caulking will save us from economic ruin.

If this is the idea of a President that is fixated on jobs perhaps he needs to rest more.

But tomorrow is global warming and saving the world from that menace with caulking and installation.

No rest for the weary. Not like that white guy who always whined about everything being too hard.

Every solution to problems is at your hardware store.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 8, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

The one thing you can be sure of is that I do not trust you. Your judgement is abysmal. You focus on minutia and can not see the forrest from the trees. So what is there to trust?

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

No, that is actually the SENATE RULE (unless there's unanimous consent to dispense with the reading ; )

Trust me, Obamacare will NOT get passed this year. I was worried that the Dems would allow the Amendment, just like they did in the House, only to get enough votes and then strip the provision from Conference Committee. Now the issue cannot be swept under the rug.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

You would know better than I what it will take to hold Republicans attention. I would be surprised if two readings would be sufficient.
Clearly Republicans have not listened to anyone but their troglodyte supporters and their misinformed brethren.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to Gator-ron:

Time for the GOP to insist that all 1,254 pages of the healthcare reform bill be read aloud (twice ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama spoke at 11:00 a.m., I believe. Check the actual time of the speech and get back to me.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Jake, you're being evasive.

When the market was at 1250 (down 150 from the bell)this afternoon you said it would fall another 100 points after Obama spoke -- and it didn't. It went up from there to 1286. A true pessimist would rather be right and have the bad thing they predicted happen, than be wrong and have the bad thing averted.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

If Obamacare can be stopped THIS year, the chances increase that NO HEALTHCARE REFORM bill will be signed in an election year. That's the conventional wisdom, at least.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the Senate did the right thing, not mixing theology with medicine. From The nature of JakeD's post of 6:01PM I conclude that he concedes that health care will pass next year.

The only thing that is really important is that congress pass legislation to solve the health insurance problem, if not completely then we will get the job done later.

With regard to abortions the insurance should not cover abortions that are done for contraceptive purposes unless there is a rider. Insurance from the government should be no different than private insurance.We do not want the government regulating any differently than insurers.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 8, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Valiant Democrats who voted against killing the Amendment were Sens. Nelson and Casey, of course, David Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Edward Kaufman of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana. Not a surprise, RINO's and pro-abortion Maine Sens. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, sided with Planned Parenthood abortion advocates against the Amendment. Along with Sen. Liberman's threatened filibuster for including the PUBLIC OPTION, Sen. Nelson (but not Casey) has said he would filibuster the bill because of the abortion funding it contains. WOO HOO!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS:

The Democrats in the Senate just voted in favor of the Motion to Table Nelson Amdt. No. 2962; to prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions. That effectively killed any chance of pro-life Senators voting for the final bill. There's NO WAY Obamacare is passing this year!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

StevefromSacto:

Really?! Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coulter ALL "parroted" the White House talking points on, say, Harriet Miers? I don't seem to recall it going down that way.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Where y'all been? During the previous administration, the Bush White House put out a daily agenda which was parroted, almost word-for-word, by Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, etc. Today, right-wing media are still using that kind of coordination to attack the current President.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | December 8, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Jesus, has joked left the keyboard the entire day today? Howmany 1000s of totally useless posts by him are there? Sad.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Jesus, has joked left the keyboard the entire day today? Howmany 1000s of totally useless posts by him are there? Sad.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Specifically, the DJIA closed at 10,285.97 (which was -104.14 points off, or -1.00%) for the day.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm always happy when the stock market rises (but it actually fell when Obama spoke -- which is what I was saying -- it did recover a bit by the closing bell : )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Jake, I'm happy Sarah's a star on facebook. She has her following and I'm sure she's going to be on the political landscape for years to come. I hope you still love her when she's old and grey.

Are you happy that the stock market actually rose over 30 points after you predicted it would fall another 100 points this afternoon? >:-P pllllb

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

rmlwj1:

LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes, GoldAndTanzanite3, I know that you also blame her for not aborting Trig (I am not counting you among the "mainstream media" though).

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"We are always looking for new ways navigate the hyper-kinetic new media universe and communicate about the President's agenda," explained Pfeiffer. "The media is so diffuse with so many sources reporting so often that many of traditional tools of communications are rendered obsolete."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mr. Pfeiffer could begin by using simple English.

"Communicate about" -- try "communicate" or "explain."

"Hyper-kinetic" -- I wasn't aware that the media exhibited any energy, other than picking up a glass of liquor at the Press Club.

Here's an idea: Mr. Obama should sack the lackwit, write his own speeches and attempt to deliver them without a tele-prompter.

Posted by: rmlwj1 | December 8, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Palin winked at the camera in her "debate" with Joe Biden. That's on videotape. That kind of vampish wink suggests that she may have made ends meet on her back at some time in her life.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Newspapers claiming that "Palin Flirts ..." and David Letterman "joking" about statutory rape of her 14 year daughter are, indeed, attacks and NOTHING comparable to those against Ms. Spears.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

AND LIKEWISE, DAN PFEIFFER.

If you read blogs and comments sections, you and POTUS/VPOTUS will gain new and sometimes vital insights.

Case in point:

OBAMA WRONG AT WEST POINT: U.S. DOES TORTURE -- ITS OWN CITIZENS, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system, employing cell towers and satellites, to silently, invisibly torture, impair, physiologically and neurologically subjugate unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR (if link is corrupted): NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA," "GOV'T TORTURES ME WITH SILENT MICROWAVE WEAPONS, SAYS EX-HONDURAS PREZ"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 8, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Really?! Please name ONE other "celebrity" attacked as viciously as she has been by the mainstream media.

==

Palin has not been "attacked" by the "media."

On the contrary, the news media have bent over backward to carry GOP spin as straight news, fawning over Bush's lies about Iraq and Social Security and so much else, but with Palin the reality was just too unfinished to shellac over with happy talk.

Sarah Palin is stupid. Note that we don't say that about other Republicans we don't like, we don't say it about Mitt Romney, nor about Tim Pawlenty, nor any of the other Seven Dwarves we keep reading about here. We say it about Palin, and the press tries not to say it but it comes through, because she's too stupid to cover it up, and when she tries she emits that "thin resume" and "pry-vit secter" babble.

The press hasn't been "mean" to Palin .. they have tried to present her the way the GOP wanted her to be seen, but the task is just impossible. Not even the "mainstream media" can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Or put lipstick on a pig.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

It is sad, to me, that an interesting post by the blog owner is, again, being taken over by one poster's unhealthy interest in a celebrity.

I find the topic a little interesting; I don't anticipate adding the WH blog to my list of regular sites to visit; but if Cillizza is right, its newsworthy. What do y'all think: is the WH able to influence messaging with the blog? The Fix says:

"Take Pfeiffer's post this past Monday previewing Obama's economic speech. "There is no topic the President brings up more in the Oval Office than putting Americans back to work, and this Tuesday the President takes another step as part of his overall effort to jump start job growth for Americans," he wrote.

That sentence was aped -- either directly or indirectly -- hundreds of time by talking heads on cable, liberal bloggers and other Administration officials between the time it was posted at 4 am on Monday morning and when the President delivered his address at Brookings today."

Do you agree?

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama currently has 6,948,457 "fans" on his official Facebook page. Once Palin surpasses that number, will you finally admit that she's a force to be reckoned with?

==

You read Facebook, you watch daytime television, you believe in the supernatural. You write like an adolescent and show the emotionalism of a very disturbed one.

You talk about book sales, facebook followers, and popularity polls as evidence of Palin's political power.

And, hilariously, you also claim to be superlatively educated and of advanced age.

Wonder why everyone presumes you're a phony?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Brittney Spears.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

PeterPamZ:

Really?! Please name ONE other "celebrity" attacked as viciously as she has been by the mainstream media.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Obama currently has 6,948,457 "fans" on his official Facebook page. Once Palin surpasses that number, will you finally admit that she's a force to be reckoned with?

There's no disputing she's a force to be reckoned with... just not in politics; she's reached that point that she rails against, she's become a "celebrity".

Posted by: PeterPamZ | December 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I think the trivial, transient, surface-level social medium of Facebook is a perfect match for Ms Palin. Nothing wrong about it. The medium and the message match well. Like Roland Hedley and Twitter, in fact.

I mean, just think about it: it's not IdeaBook or ThoughtBook or PolicyBook or AccomplishmentBook. It's FaceBook.

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he's moving to Vietnam, rather than Uganda.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"MASSAGING end-runs"

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

No, that sounds like something GoldAndTanzanite3 does though ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Misread the title initially as "The White House's MASSAGING end-run." I'm glad to see The Fix hasn't quite descended into that kind of tabloid posting yet.

Posted by: mnteng | December 8, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

By all means, drindl, don't post about it then.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Facebook is probably one of the least interesting topics anyone could possibly think about.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Obama currently has 6,948,457 "fans" on his official Facebook page. Once Palin surpasses that number, will you finally admit that she's a force to be reckoned with?

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Just like it's not "wrong" for Gov. Palin to use her Facebook page to counter Obama's bloggers."


I don't know who said its wrong. Whomever did is wrong. She can do what she likes. If she expects to be taken seriously by people who don't already have a strong feeling about her, facebook posts are probably not the best way to build that impression.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Compare that to the facebook feed alongside this column. Somebody posted (presumably to the Fix's wall on facebook) an 'exclusive breaking news' announcement, pushing a story by some partisan 'network'. Perhaps most amusing is the ending plea where the poster generously suggests that the Fix use the story, but 'just give us credit.' Gee, thanks for the scoop.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Just like it's not "wrong" for Gov. Palin to use her Facebook page to counter Obama's bloggers.

Posted by: JakeD | December 8, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Whew, from the headline I thought your conclusion was going to be that it was wrong of the White House to use their own blog to get out their own message.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 8, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company