YOU RUN NEGATIVE ADS TO IMPRESS THE MEDIA
I said it this morning and now a Wall Street Journal blog post confirms what I said:
McCain's Hillary-Themed Ads Are Barely Broadcast
...McCain's campaign, sensing an opportunity to rub salt in Democratic wounds, has since Sunday released three television ads dominated by Sen. Clinton....
But don't expect to see many show up in battleground state living rooms. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which monitors political advertising across the country, only one of the three Clinton-themed ads has been broadcast so far –- and that ad, featuring a Clinton delegate who now endorses McCain, is only airing in Toledo, Ohio.
That doesn't mean these McCain ads won't be seen by voters. The national media, which has its sensors tuned to any signs of Clinton-Obama drama in Denver, have readily amplified the messages....
The press loves them because they're fresh content and they presumably stir the blood; the press loves them, in other words, because they make the press's job easy. (The press also likes them, obviously because they transmit GOP memes, which the press feels an obligation to do every election cycle because otherwise Republicans will be mean to them.)
Obama needs to make a lot of truly feisty negative ads -- as I said in the earlier post, it's how the press is keeping score this year of who deserves to be president. It's this year's have-a-beer -- a measure of manliness, and also of helpfulness to the press. His might not get taken as seriously by the press (until one goes viral), but he at least has to be competitive on this measure, or he'll be seen as wussy and weak.