News Conference Fail; Publicity Win
LL got an e-mail earlier today from the campaign of Dave Hedgepeth, the Ward 3 GOP candidate who is trying to unseat Councilmember Mary Cheh.
The e-mail read: "Dave Hedgepeth, candidate for Ward 3 DC Council, will make a major press announcement tomorrow, Tuesday, August 24th regarding the DC Mayor's election" (Emphasis added.)
Okay, not very hard to guess where this is going, right? Hedgepeth is going to endorse Fenty, just like many Republicans in this town, because he's a fan of schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Nothing very major about that, but Hedgepeth isn't the first person to use hyperbole in announcing a news conference.
But any interest LL had in actually going to see Hedgepeth's little stunt on the sidewalk of the Wilson Building was nullified when the candidate went ahead and had his own private news conference with not one, but two Post reporters. Here he is talking to the Post's Tim Craig, and here he is saying the same things to the Post's Mike DeBonis. (Hedgepeth's line, btw, is that Cheh is a chicken for not coming out and endorsing Vincent Gray, who everyone knows she supports but is kind of a tough sell in Fenty-friendly Ward 3. Cheh replies with this zinger: "If he thinks as a Republican his endorsement of the mayor is persuasive among residents in Ward 3, then by all means he should have a press conference.")
So, Hedgepeth has completely killed any reason to actually pay attention to his news conference, but he did manage to get two stories up on the Post's website. And now LL is giving this guy even more press! Dave Hedgepeth, you are a master media manipulator!
But such manipulations may come at a cost. DeBonis tweets: "Note to flax: Plz lemme know if you're pitching same story to colleague. That way we don't both do it and end up disliking you. Kthx."
(And a question that should worry Hedgepeth, too: Will any of this stuff actually make it into the old-school print editions of the Post or City Paper, which are potentially read by far more people?)