Tags: direct-to-voter | messaging

Direct-to-Voter Messaging Lets Politicians Bypass News Media

Direct-to-Voter Messaging Lets Politicians Bypass News Media

Sen. Bernie Sanders is mastering direct-to-voter messaging. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 01 June 2018 11:55 AM

Direct-to-voter messaging – which includes streaming town hall meetings, podcasts, and videos – is being used successfully by politicians to bypass the news media in this year's midterm elections.

One of the biggest advantages is avoiding those pesky questions from reporters. Another is having total control over events like town halls, from the script to the camera angles to the final editing, if it's taped.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are getting into the act, for example Wisconsin’s Republican Rep. Sean Duffy and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, are both using podcasts to help in their re-election bids, The New York Times reported.

Rep. Devin Nunes in California has his own local news website, while in Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke has been broadcasting his uphill campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination in 2016, has streamed three town halls this year, including one in mid-May, the Times noted. While the initial audience was "modest" over the course of two weeks more than 800,000 would see the video.

Sanders is believed to be using the town halls to lay the groundwork for another presidential run in 2020, the Times said, and so far he has been able to do it without the need of the mainstream media.

"Politicians have always wanted to control the message — they've always wanted to dominate the talk," Al Cross, a University of Kentucky journalism lecturer and and former political reporter for the Louisville Courier Journal, told the Times.

Cross said he has been following social media savvy Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

"In a media environment where you have all kinds of platforms on which to play — only a few of which you have to submit yourself to questions by reporter — then sure, you're going to use those platforms," Cross said.

According to a Pew Research Center study, social media has become a powerful tool to delivering messages, encouraging politicians to bypass the mainstream media. The study made in August 2017, found that slightly more than two-thirds of Americans, 67 percent, said they get at least some of their news on social media.

The study said the growth of social media growth in the way people receive news has been driven by more substantial increases among Americans who are older, less educated, and nonwhite. The same study found that for first time, more than half (55 percent) of Americans ages 50 or older reported getting news on social media sites.

That marked a remarkable 10 percent increase from the year before, Pew said.

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Direct-to-voter messaging – which includes streaming town hall meetings, podcasts, and videos – is being used successfully by politicians to bypass the news media in this year's midterm elections.
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2018-55-01
Friday, 01 June 2018 11:55 AM
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