Writing about gubernatorial candidates in terms of their media styles got a lot more interesting with the entry of author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore in the race on Monday.
Moore is a smooth and polished media presence who has a relaxed and easygoing engagement with the camera. But he can also communicate a sense of intense intellectual focus once he starts talking. And he clearly knows how to stay on his talking points.
All of that can be seen in his appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show Tuesday.
The show hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski opened Moore’s segment with a good-sized piece of his announcement video, instantly expanding its reach into the millions. You literally can’t buy that when you consider the positive context in which it appeared. As the video bite ended, Brzezinski gave an enthusiastic, “All right!” She greeted Moore warmly as “my friend,” adding, “welcome to politics.”
She and Moore were all smiles. She asked him why he wanted to be governor of Maryland and then sat back and let him run his talking points. That’s a little help and love from an influential media friend.
The question might be asked how a national show helps a candidate for state office. One of the ways is in granting the candidate the status as being worthy of national attention. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has benefited from such attention through his many appearances on cable news channels. That is especially important for a candidate who has never held statewide office running for the highest post. Also, Maryland is prime MSNBC and “Morning Joe” country, with its large Democratic population and collection of liberal thought leaders.
The social media numbers for Moore’s first week look pretty good as well. I am careful with social media numbers because I have seen them influenced by political media operatives. And it is often difficult to directly compare one candidate’s numbers to another’s given the variables. Announcement videos, for example, might debut months apart based on when a candidate declares. So, they can arrive in different climates of general interest in an election cycle. Or candidates might be emphasizing different social media strategies. Twitter might be more important to one candidate, but not so much for another.
Moore’s announcement video was seen by 262,200 viewers on Twitter as of noon on Friday, according to the counter on the video on the candidate’s page. When taken with the boost the video got from being seen in part on Morning Joe,” which was averaging an audience of about one million viewers a day in May, that makes for a very good week.
By comparison, Democratic candidate John B. King Jr., former secretary of education for President Barack Obama, had a total of 176,000 Twitter views as of noon Friday for his launch video, which was posted on April 20.
Republican candidate Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland’s commerce secretary, had 5,200 Twitter views for her launch video as of Friday at noon. Her video was posted April 14.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, had 4,600 views on Twitter for his video, which was posted Dec. 15.
David Zurawik is The Baltimore Sun’s media critic. Email: email@example.com; Twitter:@davidzurawik.