Search This Blog

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oppo Has Changed

As Ben Smith writes at Politico, technology has changed opposition research:

“It used to be that 90 percent of it was in the dark-arts category, slipping folders to reporters,” said Jeffrey Berkowitz, former RNC research director. “Now it’s almost the opposite, where 90 percent of it is being pushed out on a daily basis by campaigns.”

The changed media cycle has worked that change in oppo, as it’s known. The old mainstream media gatekeepers meant that there was a buyer’s market for information: The oppo was plentiful, the outlets scarce. Now, the outlets are infinite, and campaigns have the luxury of choosing whether a tidbit is best blasted to the press list, sent to a mainstream media reporter or sent, perhaps, to a scribe from a conservative outlet, from RedState to The Daily Caller, with a posture that would make it harder to dismiss as mere lamestream sniping at a good conservative.

There may also, Berkowitz suggested, be a new Republican appetite for a thorough vetting of their own.

“After the debacles they witnessed last cycle in states like Delaware and Colorado and Alaska, where candidates were not sufficiently vetted before they were nominated, I would expect opposition research to play a stronger role in campaign efforts to feed Republican voters’ desire to trust but verify this cycle,” he said.

For example, see Mark Murray at
In advance of the president's fundraisers in Chicago tonight, the Romney camp has produced a Web video noting how unemployment is up in Chicago and home prices are down there since Obama took office. "Obama isn't working," the Web video concludes.

But a rival campaign sends over opposition research that plays the Bain Capital card: The private equity firm that Romney once headed bought a Chicago-area-based medical diagnostics company -- renamed Dade International, which later became Dade Behring -- that ended up firing and relocating workers.