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October 04, 2012

Obama: He Really *Is* Everywhere

Remember "Obama Everywhere"? No, not this Obama Everywhere.

We're referring to the White House's frankly creepy social media campaign, in which we're invited to follow the President's every utterance on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (MySpace???), LinkedIn, YouTube, and anywhere else he's posting. For a small fee, you can even access the President on your mobile phone.

Where *does* the Leader of the Free World find the time? Must be a sophisticated consumption thang.

Turns out it wasn't just a gimmick. Obama really *is* everywhere:

See that gigantic Twitter widget in the right third of the Washington Post‘s main web page? That’s the Obama campaign’s Truth Team 2012 Twitter widget, purchased as an online ad. You’d need a magnifying glass to see the “Advertisement” disclaimer at the top, which is less than an eighth of an inch high in gray type on a gray background. Here in the newsroom, it took a few minutes to realize the thing was an ad.

But it gets better. Just last night, the Post put up its own piece on how the Obama campaign is taking over the web page of the Columbus Dispatch:

Residents of Columbus, Ohio, might be forgiven if they thought their local newspaper had been commandeered Tuesday by President Obama’s reelection campaign.

A major portion of the Web site for the Columbus Dispatch was taken over by advertising for Obama, whose campaign is pushing supporters to the polls as voters in the crucial swing state begin casting early ballots. By early evening, Obama for America campaign ads still flanked both sides of the newspaper’s landing page, with more ads across the top and bottom and a large display ad that took up much of the remaining screen when expanded.

Scrolling down led the user to a regular Dispatch news story on… the start of early voting.

You would think a self respecting group of independent journalists newspaper might see a slight conflict of interest or two there.

Posted by Cassandra at October 4, 2012 08:31 PM

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Comments

No wonder he didn't have time to prep for the debate or investigate the murder of our ambassador in Benghazi.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 5, 2012 09:34 AM

Well, I CAN speak to this. Online newspaper advertising literally has nothing to do with the news department. The advertising teams frequently don't even TALK to the news room. In fact, at one of the papers I work with, the online advertising team is so hostile to the online news team, they've asked ME to pass a message on to the other team so they wouldn't have to. The idea that the advertising team would sell a front page, or news section banner or skyscraper ad without consulting the news team (or even the editorial staff) as to the propriety of the situation doesn't surprise me in the least. In fact, if the ad is part of a national campaign, it's likely the advertising team gets the ads from a third party national advertising agency and wouldn't even know (or in truth, care) about the content.

Fact is, newspapers ARE struggling. Not just to survive but to transition over to the web. They don't understand the audience, the technology, or indeed the web itself. It was not that long ago I heard a publisher say "the internet is a fad". Seriously. While a "respectable print organization" would probably never allow a political ad directly next to a news article on the campaign, the online side of the house (if it's even considered) doesn't "know better". We're still kind of in the Wild West here, and the print organizations are the East Coast city dwellers. They preen and look down their noses at the "uncivilized" web denizens, without realizing they're dinosaurs and the future lies "out West". But by the same token, we're out here trying to survive and thrive, but lack the sophisticated and cultured instincts of the old guard.

In short (don't you wish I could always keep it so), I don't attribute this to malice. Simply inexperience and lack of interest cover it nicely.

Posted by: MikeD at October 5, 2012 10:13 AM

He's so omniscient,
and omnificent!
Even his omnibus is omniform!
When he's omnipresent
he's omnipotent!
He's an omnifarious omnivore!
Make Barrack your omniarch today!

Posted by: spd rdr at October 5, 2012 10:37 AM

The idea that the advertising team would sell a front page, or news section banner or skyscraper ad without consulting the news team (or even the editorial staff) as to the propriety of the situation doesn't surprise me in the least. In fact, if the ad is part of a national campaign, it's likely the advertising team gets the ads from a third party national advertising agency and wouldn't even know (or in truth, care) about the content.

This is where the newspaper's manager/owner really needs to set policy. I agree 100% on the disconnect between ad sales and news coverage, but in every company someone has to be mindful of the brand.

I'm pretty sure the WaPo wouldn't put a p0rn or NAMBLA ad on their front page, so presumably they have *some* standards :p

I'm guessing that they just haven't run into this particular issue before (a political campaign paying to have their Twitter feed broadcasted).

This is a great case study on how rules come into being. No one starts out saying, "Hmmmm.... let's imagine every possible issue that might ever crop up and create a rule for it!".

That's just not how things work in the real world. In the real world, rules arise in response to boneheaded/harmful things people do. The offense/problem comes first and the rule later.

And once the rule is in place, there are far fewer problems of that type (at least). Then it's time for people to begin complaining about the rule and wanting to remove it.

We never learn.

Posted by: Cass, Now With 25% More Nattitude! at October 5, 2012 11:16 AM

He's an omnifarious omnivore!

[settling into the Lotus position]

"Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm"

Posted by: Yogi Cassidhartha Das at October 5, 2012 11:18 AM

I'm pretty sure the WaPo wouldn't put a p0rn or NAMBLA ad on their front page, so presumably they have *some* standards :p

One of out papers ran an ad for an adult bookstore on the front page before someone realized who the advertiser was. Lasted over 24 hours.

This is where the newspaper's manager/owner really needs to set policy. I agree 100% on the disconnect between ad sales and news coverage, but in every company someone has to be mindful of the brand.

When the publishers are newspaper men and hold the internet in contempt (which many still do, or at least only give it grudging attention), the undervalue the online side. I've seen front page banner ads given away because the advertiser bought a print ad. And since they value the space that little, how much attention do you think they're going to pay to the placement of ads?

Posted by: MikeD at October 5, 2012 11:51 AM

[settling into the Lotus position]

"Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm"

Snark all you like, my dear. But while you were sleep-walking on a higher plane, I was collecting 47,396,822 Scrabble points.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 5, 2012 12:13 PM

I was collecting 47,396,822 Scrabble points.

So, one was on a higher plane, and you were leading a hard-scrabble existence?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 5, 2012 12:24 PM

...while you were sleep-walking on a higher plane, I was collecting 47,396,822 Scrabble points

...and all without a single vowel.

*nothin' but net*

Posted by: Yogi Cassidhartha Das at October 5, 2012 01:48 PM

""Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm""

The Wizard of Uhs would like to provide Yogi Cassidhartha Das with usage guidance for mind-cleansing chants...

//Takes deep breath, gazes at nicely creased trousers, vacuums mind and begins// Ahuhuhuhahaahahahuh

Posted by: Obama-Won Dearthhopie at October 5, 2012 02:11 PM

Please - he will now be referred as "Dear Leader"

Posted by: Bill B at October 6, 2012 01:00 PM

You mean the Scarlet Pimpernel is really Obama?

*thud*

Posted by: MeanOne at October 6, 2012 02:16 PM

You mean the Scarlet Pimpernel is really Obama?

No, but Tony Curtis is.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 6, 2012 02:28 PM

That would be the Tony Curtis of "Yonda lies my fadda's castle" fame?

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at October 6, 2012 03:35 PM

"That would be the Tony Curtis of "Yonda lies my fadda's castle" fame?"

Yah. I tink he wuz da Baahstun Stannglah too, but unlike da Deah Leadah, he nevah got a law review gig.

Posted by: "Joliet" Jake Blues at October 6, 2012 05:36 PM

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