July 06, 2004

Edwards Chosen

Hah. Kerry picked Edwards today, Tuesday early morning. This is precisely what I predicted. Obviously I predicted Edwards would be chosen, but I also said that the campaign would announced morning on a Monday or Tuesday to take advantage of the news. I'm not bragging (well, okay, maybe I am) it's just cool when a prediction turns out so right.

I made the prediction based on two facts: 1) the early to middle part of the week is often slows news (Tuesday, Wednesday, somewhat Monday) because there just tends to be less - especially in the morning. All the news from the weekend or the night before is run through (unless it's big) and the media folks look for something fresh. They send the reporters and correspondents out anew, going after a story. Doing it early gives you a jump on everyone else. It gives time for the 6 and 11 o'clock news to find quotes, stories and guests on your VP pick, and gives you time as the campaign to send positive news out to a bunch of people. And 2) Doing it quickly after the Sunday shows gives them time to prepare plenty of guests and stories and therefore make more coverage of your pick, and they're gonna want to cover it a minimum number of times, so you can stretch out the news story by a few days making the announcement Monday or tuesday instead of Friday or Saturday.

The strategy is more nuanced than this and yet more simplistic as well. But it can work quite well. In 1996 a presidential contender wanted to announce on a slow news day in April. He picked a Wednesday early morning to get the story out on his announcement. It was all set to be a slow news days and he was going to dominate the stories of the day. It was a great strategy. Unfortunately for the candidate and strategists, Timothy McVeigh decided to murder 168 that morning - they chose April 19, 1996 and the Oklahoma City bombing happened at 9:02 am. The announcement story was almost completely overwhelmed by footage of the terrorist attack. Aside from mass murder, the early morning-early week theory's still quite sound.


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