• Opinion | Mike Bloomberg Is Hacking Your Attention - The New York Times

    Un excellent papier sur ce qu’est réellement l’économie de l’attention : se moquer du message, occuper l’espace. La politique devrait être le contraire.... ouuups, en disant cela, je fais tellement vieux jeu, voire vingtième siècle.

    Mike Bloomberg and his presidential campaign respect the fundamental equation governing the modern internet: Shamelessness and conflict equal attention. And attention equals power.

    Since declaring his campaign late last fall, the former New York City mayor has used his billions to outspend his competition in an attempt to hack the country’s attention. It seems to be working — this column is yet more proof.

    There are his ubiquitous television, YouTube and Facebook ads. There are his tweets, many of which are weird enough to generate the right amount of viral confusion or are pugnacious enough toward Donald Trump to provoke the ire of the presidential Twitter feed. Then there are the influencers. Starting this week the Bloomberg campaign enlisted the help of a number of popular meme-makers to create sponsored Instagram content for the candidate. The rollout was extremely effective, generating substantial praise and disdain. The ratio doesn’t really matter — what matters is that people were talking about Mr. Bloomberg, a candidate who skipped Iowa and New Hampshire and is nonetheless a top-tier contender for the Democratic nomination.

    These Extremely Online tactics fit the larger ethos of the Bloomberg campaign, which feels like a control group experiment for a study positing, “What if you ran a presidential campaign so optimized for efficiency and reach that you cut the human element of campaigning altogether?” As my newsroom colleague Matt Flegenheimer wrote in January, Mr. Bloomberg is not really playing chess, “he is more accurately working to bury the board with a gusher of cash so overpowering that everyone forgets how the game was always played in the first place.”

    This is certainly true from a media buying standpoint. Mr. Bloomberg has blanketed the airwaves with television and radio ads, spending over $250 million since beginning his campaign in November. Online, his campaign is even more prolific — NBC News calculated that he’s spent more than $1 million a day on average during the past two weeks on Facebook. He’s spent so much that marketers suggest the flood of ads might be driving up prices for the Trump campaign and taking eyeballs away from the president’s own buckshot campaign to own voters’ news feeds.

    At the heart of these tactics is a genuine shamelessness that fits perfectly not just with politics but also the internet at large. Mr. Bloomberg is unapologetic about — and unafraid to hide — the money he’s spending. That transactional approach is an excellent match for online influencer culture, where young internet celebrities aren’t often overly particular about accepting good money to endorse suspect products. In the Instagram meme influencers, the former mayor seems to have found a kindred spirit of attention economy capitalists. “I would be down — bread is bread,” a teenager who runs the meme page @BigDadWhip, told The Times’s Taylor Lorenz when asked about posting sponsored content on behalf of the candidate.

    On Twitter, where some Democratic hopefuls have adopted a “they go low, we go high” mentality, Bloombergians have instead opted to wade into the mud and wrestle with Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed. The strategy plays up controversy at every available opportunity to generate attention.

    After news broke that the president mocked Mr. Bloomberg’s height in a Super Bowl interview with Sean Hannity, the Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman Julie Wood fired back with a Trumpian line of her own: “The president is lying. He is a pathological liar who lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity, and his spray-on tan.”
    Editors’ Picks
    How My Worst Date Ever Became My Best
    Zonked on Vicodin in the Corner Office
    He Was Fearless on a Football Field. But He Sensed Something Wasn’t Right.

    The back and forth generated a medium-size controversy and news cycle of its own, the subtext of which was Mr. Bloomberg as a worthy sparring partner for Mr. Trump. Tweets and cable chyrons flashed with the former mayor’s name. Earned media. Mission accomplished.

    the (sad) way you can tell bloomberg’s reply-to-trump twitter strategy is working is that crypto dudes are trying to draft off the engagement in replies (we’re all gonna die) pic.twitter.com/SqH7gcJGl7
    — Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) February 13, 2020

    What the Bloomberg campaign seems to have bought into is that, when you lean into the potent combination of content creation and shamelessness, any reaction it provokes is a good reaction. This strategy provides a certain amount of freedom to a candidate when you don’t care what people think of you — as long as they’re thinking of you.

    Take Mr. Bloomberg’s brazen spending, which has prompted claims that he’s an oligarch trying to bypass democracy by buying the presidency. Plenty of candidates would get defensive at such speculation. Mr. Bloomberg is unfazed. Who cares?! At least he’s in the conversation. More than that, the conversation is now centered around the idea that he could very well win.

    The whole thing sounds Trumpian because it is. The Trump campaign was unabashed in 2016 and beyond about its plan to “flood the zone” with garbage or ragebait. The strategy worked in part because it engaged and energized his base. And, as Sean Illing detailed recently at Vox, it exploited a media ecosystem that is built to give attention to lies (in order to debunk them) and outlandishness (because it’s entertaining or newsworthy).

    What remains to be seen is how Mr. Bloomberg will handle criticism in the fight for attention. The president could punch back at critics — high or low — since he’s unencumbered by either shame or decency. Trump supporters love him because cruelty is the point. But Mr. Bloomberg won’t be able to mock critics of his beloved stop-and-frisk policies (for which he recently apologized), for instance. Unlike Mr. Trump, there are lines Mr. Bloomberg will most likely not cross.

    Other Democratic candidates have tried to apply Mr. Trump’s media hacking lessons — “I would be lying if I said I hadn’t studied some of his approach with the media and what worked, what didn’t work,” Lis Smith, a top adviser to Pete Buttigieg, recently admitted. But few are able to replicate the tactics. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez runs a similar playbook online, but hers is far more genuine — the product of being a millennial who is innately very good at social media and who also happens to be a congresswoman.

    The Bloomberg campaign is far less organic. This week’s Instagram meme campaign is a great example. Though it was a shameless attempt on behalf of the 77-year-old billionaire to buy off teenage influencers, the campaign perfectly exploited attention by being inscrutable. “It’s the most successful ad that I’ve ever posted,” one of the influencers told The Times. “I think a lot of it came from people being confused whether or not it was real.”

    Release some memes. Sow some light chaos in the timeline. Send reporters on a wild-goose chase. Meanwhile, this happens:


    Just 263 days until the election, folks. pic.twitter.com/ndD8z53Fq9
    — Brandon Wall (@Walldo) February 13, 2020

    Who cares about inorganic motives if the attention they generate is very organic?

    The strategy is, as we’re seeing, politically effective. Just ask Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor. Mr. Patrick and Mr. Bloomberg announced their campaigns around the same time. They have fairly comparable records of governing. One struggled to raise money, chose not to engage and faded into the depths of obscurity. The other, the one with the war chest and shamelessness, is still in the race.

    Attention is like television airtime in a battleground state: There’s a finite amount of it. For Democrats whose prime interest is defeating Donald Trump at all costs, this is exciting. But the strategy is also deeply cynical, exhausting and potentially damaging for those of us left to consume it. For citizens looking for a movement or big, structural change or even just a genuine vision for the future of the country, the strategy is disheartening — just another brazen attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator instincts of the internet that leaves a sinking feeling that shameless memes, Twitter dunks and toxic screaming into the algorithmic void have become politics as usual.

    Or maybe it’s always been this way. After all, what is politics if not a long, well-funded attempt at hacking people’s attention?

    #Economie_attention #Michael_Bloomberg #Politique_USA

  • Le démocrate Mike Bloomberg achète le mot « climat » sur Google pour gagner la primaire - Société - Numerama

    Le milliardaire est entré tardivement dans la course à l’investiture démocrate aux États-Unis, et mise énormément sur les campagnes en ligne. Il s’est notamment positionné sur 840 expressions en rapport avec le climat, grâce aux outils publicitaires de Google.

    « Crise climatique », « écroulement climatique », « apocalypse climatique » ou simplement « réchauffement climatique » et « climat » : de nombreuses recherches effectuées sur Google US par des Américains mènent ces derniers jours vers des résultats sponsorisés par Mike Bloomberg, le candidat qui a récemment annoncé qu’il briguait l’investiture démocrate en vue de l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2020.

    C’est la journaliste Kate Aronoff qui a remarqué en premier le 25 novembre être ciblée par ces publicités, avant que le site Gizmodo n’enquête plus en profondeur sur le sujet. D’après nos confrères, les équipes de campagne de Mike Bloomberg auraient ciblé près de 840 expressions en rapport avec le climat, afin de se positionner très clairement comme le candidat « écolo » de la primaire américaine.

    L’objectif du candidat à l’investiture démocrate est clair : investir le créneau de l’écologie alors qu’aucune autre personnalité politique du camp de la gauche ne l’a fait depuis l’abandon de Jay Inslee en août. Michael Bloomberg a les moyens de ses ambitions, car il n’y a quasiment aucune limite aux dépenses qu’il peut engager.

    Mais c’est sans compter le fait que Google ne fait, par ailleurs, pas payer très cher ce positionnement. Comme nous l’a expliqué Bruno Guyot, expert Google Ads qui a accès à la plateforme de la régie de Google, réserver une dizaine de mots clés (cimate, climate collapse, climate change, is climate change a hoax, climate breakdown, global warming, etc) pour un mois aux États-Unis coûterait dans les environs de 8 300 euros, ce qui monte à environ 700 000 euros pour 840 termes. Soit une goutte d’eau pour un homme aussi riche que Bloomberg. Comme ces termes « n’ont pas une intention commerciale (…) les entreprises ne se battent pas pour afficher des publicités », nous explique notre spécialiste. Le champ est donc libre pour des politiques malins et bien entourés de spécialistes qui connaissent un peu le web.

    À noter que ces publicités sont ciblées : vous ne le verrez pas si vous effectuez des recherches depuis la France, et tous les Américains n’ont pas les mêmes résultats.

    #Conflits_intérêt #Michael_Bloomberg #Argent_Politique #Google #Google_ads

  • Michael Bloomberg running for president, launches 2020 campaign with multimillion-dollar ad blitz - CBS News

    A minute-long advertisement began airing Sunday in certain markets across the country, part of a campaign set to top $34 million and run through at least December 3, according to federal disclosure reports.

    “He could have just been the middle class kid who made good but Mike Bloomberg became the guy who did good,” the ad’s announcer says. “After building a business that created thousands of jobs, he took charge of a city still reeling from 9/11. A three-term mayor who helped bring it back from the ashes, bringing jobs and thousands of affordable housing units with it. After witnessing the terrible toll of gun violence, he helped create a movement to protect families across America and stood up to the coal lobby and this administration to protect this planet from climate change.”

    The ad says he will seek to “restore faith in the dream that defines us where the wealthy will pay more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share. Everyone without health insurance can get it, and everyone who likes theirs, keep it.” It ends with a tagline: “Jobs creator. Leader. Problem solver.”

    Une vidéo qui ne dit rien sur le fond, mais qui signale qu’avec des poches pleines, il va pouvoir mener campagne sans se prononcer sur rien.

    #Politique_USA #Démocrates #Michael_Bloomberg #Publicité_politique

  • Opinion | Bloomberg’s Bogus, Belated Mea Culpa - The New York Times

    Ca, c’est de l’édito... et la leçon vaut largement au delà des Etats-Unis

    Last Sunday I wrote a column entitled “You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg” because of Michael Bloomberg’s promotion, advocacy and defense of the racist stop-and-frisk policy that ballooned during his terms as mayor of New York City.

    This Sunday, Bloomberg apologized for that policy.

    Speaking at the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said:

    “Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I long struggled to admit to myself: I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand that back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities. I was totally focused on saving lives, but as we know, good intentions aren’t good enough. Now, hindsight is 20/20. But, as crime continued to come down as we reduced stops, and as it continued to come down during the next administration, to its credit, I now see that we could and should have acted sooner and acted faster to cut the stops. I wish we had. I’m sorry that we didn’t. But, I can’t change history. However today, I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong, and I’m sorry.”

    This is a necessary apology, but a hard one to take, coming only now, as he considers a run for the Democratic nomination, a nomination that is nearly impossible to secure without the black vote.

    It feels like the very definition of pandering.

    It is impossible for me to take seriously Bloomberg’s claim that he didn’t understand the impact that stop-and-frisk was having on the black and brown communities when he was in office.

    Too much was written about it, by me and others. Too much was studied about it. Too many civil rights activists and groups complained about it.

    No, I believe that he knew very well, and understood clearly, the pain that he was causing, but he was making a collateral damage argument: Because there was crime and many of those committing those crimes were born with black or brown skin, all those with that skin should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

    That feels like the very definition of racism.

    It is important to remember that racism can exist in the absence of malice, that this dragnet presumption of guilt, even if well intentioned, amounted to a systemic racism to which Bloomberg was not only apathetic, but zealous about.

    It is also hard to take his apology seriously because as recently as January he was still vigorously defending the policy, making the incredulous and insulting claim that during the execution of stop-and-frisk “we certainly did not pick somebody by race.”

    It’s hard to take it seriously because as The New York Post reported Sunday, the Police Benevolent Association president, Patrick Lynch, slammed Bloomberg’s convenient apology, saying, “Mayor Bloomberg could have saved himself this apology if he had just listened to the police officers on the street.” He continued:

    “We said in the early 2000s that the quota-driven emphasis on street stops was polluting the relationship between cops and our communities. His administration’s misguided policy inspired an anti-police movement that has made cops the target of hatred and violence, and stripped away many of the tools we had used to keep New Yorkers safe.”

    Bloomberg is no dummy. He knew the statistics. He knew that the vast majority of the people being stopped were black and brown and that the vast majority were innocent. He knew. And yet, he kept the system and defended it.

    This was a maximum pressure campaign targeted against black and brown communities, an intimidation tactic to signal constant surveillance and random checks. These whole communities were under siege, and it not only did lasting damage to the relationship between those communities and the Police Department, it accrued immeasurable psychological damage to an entire generation of black and brown boys and men.

    Bloomberg’s cynicism here is staggering.

    But, this is something that black voters must contend with: politicians who do harm through policy to black communities, then come forward with admissions and contrition when they need black people’s votes.

    I haven’t forgotten that it was just this year, as he was about to enter the race, that Joe Biden finally offered a full apology for the disastrous 1994 crime bill that wreaked havoc on the black community, after having defended the bill for years. Biden offered his apology at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast.

    Bloomberg needed to apologize. But the apology is not for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of young black and brown men subjected to his millions of stops. There, the damage is done. The grip of a strange man’s hands, with the power of a badge and gun, groping their bodies will stay with them. The personal, physical trauma and violation that he endorsed will linger for a lifetime.

    Bloomberg needed to apologize so that the truth could be told: New York violated the rights and bodies of a generation of black and brown boys and men at the eager, willful insistence of its mayor.

    Black voters — and all Democratic voters — must ask themselves: Is Bloomberg the antidote to what ails America on race and criminal justice, or is he one of its vectors?

    #USA #Racisme #Stop_and_frisk #Michael_Bloomberg