comScore Politico Reports on Breaking News… That Politico Broke in 2013

Politico Reports on Breaking News… That Politico Broke in 2013

politicoPolitico breathlessly reported this week on a change in the Republican Party’s election spending habits, despite the fact that the change was actually announced three years ago… and reported on by Politico.

In the Thursday piece, Politico framed the lack of TV spending from the RNC in the 2016 election as a side-effect of Donald Trump‘s nomination. “The Republican National Committee insists that it’s doing everything in its power to elect Donald Trump, but as Trump gets clobbered on the TV airwaves by his well-funded Democratic rival, the RNC has been conspicuously absent,” the story notes. “A POLITICO analysis of campaign finance records reveals that the committee has not spent anything on commercials boosting Trump since he emerged as the party’s likely nominee.”

Politico ran the piece despite being contradicted by Republicans, who told them that the change had nothing to do with Trump. RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh is quoted in the piece telling Politico they simply made the decision as “a strategic calculation made soon after the 2012 election” because it was “not an efficient use of party committee dollars to spend money on television.”

That sounds like spin, but Walsh is basically right: they made the decision to deemphasize TV ads long, long before Trump entered the scene. What’s more, GOP spokesman Michael Short pointed out on Twitter that the reason we know that’s true is because Politico broke the news:

Sure enough, here’s the memo published in the Oct. 28, 2013 Politico Playbook.

In the past, the committee would spend an off year accumulating cash and then, during the
election year, we would continue stockpiling cash until the last 90 days. The thinking was that the
way to win was to drop all that money on TV ads and get-out-the-vote operations in the final days
before the election.

Things have changed. That strategy is both outdated and ineffective. That’s why Chairman
Priebus has changed the role of the RNC. The lesson from 2012 is we must have a permanent
ground game. We must engage with voters year-round in their communities, especially in
Hispanic, African American and Asian Pacific communities.

So, while in the past, we may have measured the RNC’s success by the amount of cash we had
piled up three months before Election Day, that will no longer be the case. We’re investing that
money now and will continue to do so.

Even former Politico reporters pointed it out.

So alas, Politico got scooped with their big story. By themselves. Years ago.

[Image via screengrab]

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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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