Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Western PA Newspaper Circulation and Clinton

As Libby pointed out, Hillary Clinton went to a local Pittsburgh newspaper and started to refan the Wright controversy in order to get attention off of her Tuzla statement.  The newspaper was the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, which is the house rag of Richard Mellon Scaife.  Josh Marshall has a good summary of the paper's political agenda:
It was the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the money-losing, vanity, fringe sheet of Richard Mellon Scaife, funder of the Arkansas Project, the American Spectator during its prime Clinton-hunting years and virtually every right-wing operation of note at one point or another over the last twenty years or more.
And this is a good paper for her to hit despite/because of the fact that Richard Mellon Scaife owns it. She knows that her comments will get play and front page treatment, but that would have happened at almost any paper.  Instead, it is a circulation and location targetting decision that makes this an effective forum for her to get her message out. 
Pittsburgh has two major newspapers, the Post-Gazette and the Tribune Review.  The Post-Gazette has about twice the circulation of the Tribune Review.  However the locations and target audience of the two papers differ significantly.  The P-G is the 'respectable' paper in town, and it is the dominant city paper.  The Tribune Review is a bit flashier, less substantial, and is more of an outlying paper.  Within city limits, the P-G dominates the Trib.

The Tribune Review is part of a six paper chain in Western Pennsylvania, and once one leaves the city, it has much better proportional circulation against the P-G.  This is especially true fifteen or more miles from Downtown Pittsburgh.  At that point the Trib family of papers is at least first among equals in its competition with the P-G and local newspapers.

This region lies in PA-4, PA-12 and PA-18 where the Democrats are significantly more conservative and Clinton friendly then the Democrats in PA-14 which is the Pittsburgh city district.  Her attack will be headlined in her base voters where she needs to run up 65% and 70% levels of support to gain significant net delegate edges.  Dumb attack strategically but a good attack tactically. 

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