Some readers didn't believe me when I wrote last week that John Kerry is getting desperate, but maybe they'll believe someone with more insider knowledge.

Dispirited Democrats -- prominent senators, top fundraisers, even a few Kerry confidants -- have told the candidate, who is in Nantucket, that high-level changes are imperative. A few very well-connected Democrats report something will occur in the next few days. One person who might assume more control is Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary to Bill Clinton and a respected public-relations figure, but one who has almost no experience in the high-stakes world of presidential campaigns. Another possibility: veteran Democratic politico John Sasso, currently at the Democratic National Committee.

If there is a change -- Sen. Kerry privately is said to be "bouncing off the walls" in frustration -- it has to be imminent as the eight-week campaign is in full swing by Labor Day. "We have 48 hours," acknowledges an insider.

Further, it appears that lack of network coverage (as opposed to cable news coverage) is reducing the conventions' visibility (as I suggested):
The decision by the major television networks to trim their convention coverage is sharply reducing the number of viewers who see these political events, Harvard's Shorenstein Center reports. A survey during the Democratic convention noted that millions of potential viewers were lost, and the same is likely this week.

None of the three biggest networks, for example, aired any of last night's coverage.

In 1976, each network carried more than 20 hours of convention coverage for both parties, but that has steadily declined to about three hours this year.

ABC, CBS and NBC argue the former comprehensive coverage isn't necessary because cable TV fills that void. But the Shorenstein Center points out one-fifth of households don't have cable. And particularly critical is that "inadvertent" viewers -- those who channel surf -- do so much more on broadcast networks than cable channels. Even many cable viewers, the study found "habitually monitor the network channels but do routinely check to see what's being telecast on CNN, Fox or MSNBC."

Yeah so, I sometimes know what I'm talking about.

(HT: kf.)



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