Why Thompson Launches his Candidacy on Jay Leno
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Say what? Fred Thompson is launching his presidential candidacy on Jay Leno? In today's fragmented media world, it's a smart move. As the political scientist Matt Baum describes in a recent study, and as I have detailed on this blog many times, with so many media choices, audiences without a preference for political information are tuning out hard news and instead spending their media time with entertainment and infotainment media.
When candidates go on late night comedy, they reach the limited number of "persuadables" left in the electorate, non-news audiences who have few other sources of information about the candidate. The Clinton campaign pioneered the method in 1992 with his now iconic appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show. Today, late night comedy and day time talk shows are more critical for candidates than ever before.
On these programs, candidates are usually able to offer their best personal narrative, and hopefully in the process, prime memories of likability and strong character. The appearance on a late night show can also generate positive news coverage and positive buzz at the office, on blogs, or among friends.
And that's exactly the goal of the Thompson campaign. As detailed yesterday at the Washington Post, Thompson's appearance on Jay Leno coincides with his first presidential campaign ad, set to appear on the major networks at midnight, with the ad ending by directing viewers to Thompson's web site:
In a 30-second campaign commercial sent to networks for broadcast at midnight, Thompson warns that "On the next President's watch, our country will make decisions that will affect our lives and our families far into the future. We can't allow ourselves to become a weaker, less prosperous and more divided nation."
Thompson concludes the ad with an invitation to visit his new campaign website, Fred08.com, on Thursday to watch a 15-minute video in which he officially announces his campaign for the White House. But if there is any doubt, an announcer then comes on, saying: "Fred Thompson, Republican for President."
The ad will air throughout the day today and during the New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on Fox tonight. Following the debate -- which Thompson is skipping -- he will appear on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show."
The idea, advisers say, is to create a national buzz about Thompson's official entry into the race and drive traffic to the new website on Thursday. The 15-minute video will be available on the website at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning; advisers hope it steals the show the next morning on talk shows and cable news networks.
"The goal between now and the minute Senator Thompson is on Jay Leno is to drive as many people as we can to our website in anticipation of the launch video," said Communications Director Todd Harris.
NOTE: Polling data from recent Pew report.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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