.....That episode reflects what has emerged as one of the most frustrating challenges that McCain and Obama are facing going into the final weeks of this campaign: the ways in which the proliferation of communications channels, the fracturing of mass media and the relentless political competition to own each news cycle are combining to reorder the way voters follow campaigns and decide how to vote.
It has reached a point where senior campaign aides say they are no longer sure what works, as they stumble through what has become a daily campaign fog, struggling to figure out what voters are paying attention to and, not incidentally, what they are even believing.
U.S. candidates struggle with a proliferation of news sources
Matthew Dowd, who was the chief strategist for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, said that given a proliferation of news sources — and the fact that so many once-trusted news organizations are under attack — campaigns would be wise to discard the standard playbook.
Dowd went so far as to suggest that McCain and Obama were wasting their money on television advertisements, and that they would be better off preparing for the coming debates. Those encounters, he said, are likely to be the only chance the candidates have at capturing the undivided attention of the public.
"At this point, the ability to create and drive a message narrative is all but impossible," he said. "There's just so much stuff. The average person has 90 channels. They all get the dot-coms. They all get a newspaper. There is so much flow of information that they just to begin to discount it all."