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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Strategery" Confirms TCD Reading of Bush/Cheney Media Plan; MSM Like Whale Oil Merchants

Drudge Report is running outtakes from The Washington Examiner White House reporter Bill Sammons' new book, and the book is getting lots of attention throughout the Blogosphere as a result of quotes that suggest President Bush and Karl Rove, his chief political advisor, have a good understanding of the media revolution.

What I find most interesting is how "Strategery" seems to confirm my own recent suggestion during the Cheney accidental shooting controversy about how Mainstream Media's declining importance is increasingly reflected in White House communications planning and operations.

Drudge notes this passage:

"'I find it interesting that the old way of gathering the news is slowly but surely losing market share,' Bush said in an exclusive interview for the new book Strategery. 'It’s interesting to watch these media conglomerates try to deal with the realities of a new kind of world.'"

"'And the amazing thing about this world we live in is that there's a kind of free-flowing, kind of bulletin board of ideas and thoughts out there in the ether space, sometimes landing on somebody's desk and sometimes not, but always available. It's a very interesting period.'

"'I think what's healthy is that there's no monopoly on the news,' Bush said. 'There's competition. There's competition for the attention of, you know, 290 million people, or whatever it is.'"

That absolutely squares with what I suggested during the Cheney flareup was the Bush view of the alternative media versus the MSM:

"Unless one is prepared to argue a conspiracy theory - Cheney used the delay between the accident and when the call was made to the newspaper to shape what was said to the reporter and to local law enforcement authorities - it is clear Cheney thought a local newspaper was more likely to report the accident accurately than a confrontational, liberally biased White House press corps.

"The context for that decision is simple: Like it or not, the mainstream national media long ago lost much of its credibility with the public and has for many years been losing great chunks of its audience to Talk Radio, cable news and the Internet. The MSM is no longer the mainstream or national."

To put this into an historical analogy, the Cheney incident - and now what we are seeing in the Sammon book - is like the situation in the 19th century when petroleum was just beginning to replace such energy sources as whale oil.

The MSM today is like whale oil merchants then - they still have a big chunk of the market, but it's clear as the Carolina sky is blue that the future belongs to the new energy source.