There's fairly amusing video making the rounds of Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle being chased--literally chased--through a parking lot by the inquisitive media. The humor partly stems for the chase; and it also partly stems from the fact that this isn't even the first time this has happened. That's also a reason it's not very funny.
Angle of course is the GOP nominee trying to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. According to the Las Vegas Sun, when Angle's campaign invited the press to an event on the taxes Wednesday it was the first time they had invited the press to anything since the primary more than a month ago. According to the Sun:
Alas, Angle’s more media-friendly moment was over almost as soon as it began.
In the warehouse of a family-owned clean diesel manufacturer in Sparks, Angle delivered a three-minute speech on her desire to permanently repeal the estate tax. When invited by the final speaker to stay and answer a few questions, she turned on her heel and rushed out a back door with a small cadre of staff members.
Reporters, including one who is six months pregnant, chased after her, calling out questions on unemployment benefits and other topics she has largely refused to address.
Don't you love the detail about the pregnant reporter? It really makes the scene. And as I mentioned this isn't even the first time that Angle has been chased through a parking lot. Virtually the same scene (minus the pregnant journalist) played out in June, with a local CBS reporter trying to ask Angle about some of her wackier ideas, like that we need to start "transitioning out" of Social Security and that "Second Amendment remedies" might be required against that mean old liberal Congress.
Angle is at the leading edge of an emerging campaign strategy, first debuted by former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin. The idea is that in the new communications age there's no need to actually deal with reporters. Instead candidates can take to Facebook, Twitter, and friendly media outlets to get their message across unchallenged.
As I wrote last week:
Palin is of course not unique in embracing new media. Obama campaign-produced videos were viewed over one billion times during the 2008 presidential campaign according to Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That's more eyes watching Obama on YouTube, Rosenstiel suggests, than saw him on network nightly news reports.
But new and alternative media have been a component of a media strategy, not its totality. With the press transcribing Palin's tweets as if they were serious policy statements, why should she ever go back? And other candidates are starting to take Palin's cues.
Angle and Kentucky GOP-er Rand Paul (running for Sen. Jim Bunning's seat) are the main proponents of this tack in 2010. Hopefully the example they set won't lead anyone to follow it in 2012.