A Memo

To: All department heads, anchors, reporters, copy editors, producers, news directors, on-air personalities

From: Board of Directors, CNN

Memo Re: Post election strategy


A few reminders:

  1. ALWAYS!  remember the three laws of 24 hr. News, “1. Controversy, 2. Controversy, 3. Controversy” (Or is it, “1. Sensationalize!, 2. Sensationalize!, 3. Sensationalize!”? We’re not sure) Either way, without it we don’t pay the bills. Ours, or yours.  
  2. Even the most mundane trivial story must be delivered with the dire urgency and drama of an unfolding, immediate cosmic calamity never before seen. (Graphics Dept., be alert for all Title/Headline opportunities like, “Chads Redux: A nation hanging in the balance.” 
  3. Stress our “raw, unedited, video feeds” as a substitute for verified, and confirmed sources. (Wait, scratch #3 for use in the next natural disaster, L.A. car chase, or celebrity rehab check-in)
  4. Use as little nuanced, complex analysis as possible. Book simple and certain analysts whenever possible. (Refer to “Teeth Whiteness Chart” when deciding between two equal talking heads)
  5. Refer as often as possible to the “historical nature” of the election. (note to tele-prompter copy writers: Capitalize and use large font to differentiate “historical” and “hysterical” in all copy. A mix up here increases the “new jobless claims” this month by at least one.)
  6. Speculation is our friend. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. The farther out the better (remember controversy?) . As new more “correct” details come in, state them as if you’d never said anything different.
  7. Refer to polls as much as possible 

Note below the outline for post-election long term programming strategy.

I. Election Day

  1. Push all disenfranchised voter stories, particularly elderly, confused, sympathetic voters cheated by the “system”, or “technological malfunctions”. 
  2. Always refer to electoral college as “hard to understand”, and to the popular vote with reference to “every vote counting”, or “voice of the common person”. (Always maintain gender neutral language)
  3. Refer to polls as much as possible. 

II. Possible delay in results (2 days to 2 months)

  1. Have Fla. 2000 footage ready for use and several different end game scenarios mapped out for use. 
  2. Focus on ineptitude of the “current system”.
  3. Use word “unprecedented” often.
  4. Refer to polls as much as possible

III. Post-results analysis (approx. 1 wk. depending on II. above)

  1. Use racial, gender and “unique” (read; in house, or “scooped”) numbers to show causes of a win and a loss. Key: find demographic group with catchy name i.e. “Nascar Dads”, “Hockey Moms”, etc. The more colorful the better.
  2. All on air personalities must act as if their analysis/prediction was indeed the right one. No one will remember what they actually said.
  3. Refer to polls as much as possible 

IV. Electoral Honeymoon Period (first 100 days)

  1. Simple bios of administration staffing, again emphasizing “key issues” (read: “issues important to network execs”) 
  2. Focus on “hope for future”, (unless Repub. wins, then focus on “failure of Bush Admin.”, “quagmire” and “recession”. On second thought focus on “failure of Bush Admin.” regardless.) 
  3. Don’t forget to CYA with opposing views.
  4. Refer to polls as much as possible

V. Begin coverage of 2012 campaign cycle (Day 101- on)  Already begun with Hillary dropping out.

  1. Refer to polls as much as possible

One response to “A Memo

  1. Pingback: You Never Sausage Links! (Election Day Edition ‘08) « The Cruciform Life Blog

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