Adam Nagourney writes about the difficulties the McCain and Obama message machines are encountering with the new media.

It seems to me that the challenge posed by increasingly shorter news cycles and the proliferation of media outlets is to figure out a way to ride the news wave.  The most important thing a campaign can do in the morning is figure out where the zeitgeist is and tailor their action items to it  So for example, if Lehman is the issue of the day, figure out a way to make news on that issue in a way that advances your overall message goals.

In 2004, this “ripped from the headlines” approach proved to be ineffective even though it resulted in John Kerry winning the last thirty or so news cycles of the campaign.  But the media environment has changed so dramatically since then and the herd mentality is so much more intense that long-term message planning is reaching its limits.  The only other option is to be outrageous and lie which the McCain campaign has unfortunately shown also works (at least in the short term).