Will the Barack Obama adiministration be the first “wired” presidency?
Obama aides and allies are preparing a major expansion of the White House communications operation, enabling them to reach out directly to the supporters they have collected over 21 months without having to go through the mainstream media.
Just as John F. Kennedy mastered television as a medium for taking his message to the public, Obama is poised to transform the art of political communication once again, said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who first helped integrate the Internet into campaigning four years ago.
“He’s going to be the first president to be connected in this way, directly, with millions of Americans,” Trippi said.
The nucleus of that effort is an e-mail database of more than 10 million supporters. The list is considered so valuable that the Obama camp briefly offered it as collateral during a cash-flow crunch late in the campaign, though it wound up never needing the loan, senior aides said. At least 3.1 million people on the list donated money to Obama.
For all the Bush administration’s griping about the “filter” of the mainstream media and their efforts to circumvent it, they’d never have been able to marshal a system as sophisticated as the one we’re likely going to see in the Obama administration.
So where would the press fit into all this? How would it fight administration spin with facts when the administration can text message or otherwise directly contact millions of supporters in ways the mainstream press can’t?