Wondering Out Loud

Drudge vs. Obama

There’s a dust up is in the works between The Drudge Report and the Obama Administration. It stems from a Breitbart.tv report – picked up by Drudge – that shows a pre-presidential Obama advocating government funded universal health care.

If you watch the video you’ll come to the same conclusion as I; it’s nothing more than typical opposition politics being played out in the new arena of the Internet. What’s not typical, but is becoming so under Obama, is the Administration’s response as reported by Politico’s Mike Allen.

Linda Douglass – who’s managing health care communications  for POTUS – provided a video response admonishing us to not believe everything we see. After all video can be edited and, therefore, deceiving.  

True enough, but what Douglass doesn’t do is provide a rebuttal. Other than showing two clips of President Obama promising we will be able to keep 0ur private insurance, there is nothing to prove the earlier statements Breitbart exposed are inaccurate or doctored. There’s not even an attempt to claim that Obama’s views on the subject of universal medicine have changed over time.

Adding to the problem, Douglass blames the video on people with too much time on their hands. It’s reminiscent of Dan Rather portrayal of Memogate bloggers as sitting in their basements in their pajamas. Being dismissive and condescending towards ones critics, not taking them seriously, is a tactical mistake.

One of the first rules of social media is transparency; being open and honest. If you’re going to call your critics misleading, you’d better set the record straight. The Administration’s response in this case is a complete failure.

Social media played a major role in putting Obama in the Oval Office and they’ve continued to use the tools Web 2.o has to offer, but this is a very weak attempt to bat back the opposition. This may only be a stumble, even the best do so occasionally, but it might be an illustration of how difficult is to govern using the same tactics that put you in office.


August 4, 2009 Posted by | Communications, Leadership, Public Relations, Social Media | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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