It’s election season, you’re an administration that’s down on its luck, and it seems like the House of Representatives, currently controlled by your party, will be handed over to the opposition next January. You need some way to prevent that or, at the very least, limit the damage.
How best to accomplish this goal? Attack the opposition party’s members, of course! The more high profile the better, so you should pick Minority Leader John Boehner.
Now you will need to create a hit article. This is a fairly simple thing to do, at least if you’re a Democrat. In fact, it can be boiled down to three easy steps.
Step 1: Find a Reliable Publication to Do Your Bidding
If you want to communicate your message effectively, you need a publication that has reach. One that has a lot of readership, both nationally and internationally. More than that, though, you need a publication that can spread your attack far and wide. Not just in its own properties, but in others as well. So preferably you need one that has its own news wire (this will be important later).
In years past, you might have selected the Associated Press to do the job, as they have one of the biggest news wires in the world. However, they haven’t been so reliable as of late. So, the New York Times it is. Not only do they have reach and a news wire, they’ve also always been loyal.
Step 2: Have the Times Write an Article with Plenty of Anonymous Quotations
What should the Times write about? Everyone hates special interest lobbyists, so why not something about that? It’s likely that neither you nor they have any real sources of information, but that’s okay. Just make them up.
So keep it vague. Keep it anonymous. Say the information came from “…three people familiar with his remarks…,” or state that “Some of the lobbyists readily acknowledge routinely seeking his office’s help…” Or how about “…his lobbyist allies ridicule such criticism as politically motivated by desperate Democrats”? “One lobbyist in the club…” and “One lobbyist acknowledged…” also make for good, non-specific attributions.
Step 3: Promotion, Promotion, Promotion
Now that the hit article is written, it needs promotion, or else nobody will see it. This is where running a news wire comes in handy. This will allow the article to be seen far and wide. Having someone like the Press Secretary tweet the article, spreading it to 93,000 more people, also helps. Now some of those people will post the article on forums and other sources.
So between the Times’ online and offline publications, the news wire, Twitter, Facebook, forums, and other sources, you will have commissioned a successful attack on the leader of the opposition. I mean, it’s not like anybody will figure out that your sources are almost entirely anonymous, right?