Media Playbook - Chapter 8 - Family Matters
8.1 How to snare a conservative
Many times we just don't have anything to use against a conservative. That doesn't mean you can't make news by going after a family member of the targeted conservative. It often helps if you try to locate a shirt tail relative, estranged ex-spouse, or some other family member with an axe to grind. Short of that, you can always fall back to an elderly (over 90 a plus!) relative. Tell them it is off the record if you must, but always get it on tape.
Remember, anything a family member does is just as good as the targeted conservative doing it!
Following are some examples; this should in no way be taken as a complete list.
Conservative: Mel Gibson
The Play: Going after his fundamentalist father.
The Peg: Dad may be senile and a little off the deep end religiously [to a liberal anyway], therefore Mel Gibson must be too. If this can't be established, make Mel fustigate his elderly father on prime time TV.
Conservative: Newt Gingrich
The Play: Going after his mother.
The Peg: Tried to get her to disparage her son, she wouldn't bite. Then tried to get her to repeat any derogatory hearsay she had. She still wouldn't bite. Offered to let her mention one of these en camera, she did. We ran it on prime time TV.
Conservative: Samuel Alito
The Play: Going after his 90-year-old mother.
The Peg: We'll never get Alito to say he is against abortion; therefore we have gone after his mother to say it. She did. On the surface, his being against abortion only puts him in the same category as Hillary Clinton and other moderates [who isn't against abortion?], but if we spin it right we can make his [mother's view of his] personal view on abortion represent how he would rule on whether it is constitutional.
Conservative: John Roberts
The Play: Target the kids
The Peg: Wow, we really have nothing on John Roberts. This guy lived clean. The only play left is the equivalent of the Media Hail Mary (MHM); going after the adoption records of his kids. There has to be something there. No one is this clean! Maybe the kids did something. Pay off a Blockbuster employee to see if they returned Spongebob Squarepants late.