Ignore Blogs, YouTube At Your Peril In 2008
Republicans have been slower than their liberal/Democratic counterparts in adapting to the new media--blogs, vlogs, and the internet in general. Estimates of 1 in 5 voters in the 2004 election gleaning their political information from blogs will only increase by 2008. Mitt Romney already has his own facebook profile, but has been dogged early on with the release of video from earlier campaigns that appear to show Romney as a "flip-flopper" on his own political positions.
Last year, George Allen felt the power of YouTube with the endless rehashing of his monumental gaffe that not only destroyed a strong Senate reelection campaign but also dashed any hopes of presidential aspirations in 2008, after much touting as a GOP frontrunner. Slate has a video that neatly sums up the power of the internet, blogs, and YouTube and the likely effect on all future elections. Anyone with an internet connection can set up a blog for free, and with a digital camera and some basic video editing software make John Edwards "feel pretty", capture Hillary Clinton's mangled and tone deaf rendition of the national anthem, recall Rudy Giuliani in drag being pursued by Donald Trump, or revisit Joe Biden's slip-of-the-tongue. Every moment spent on the campaign trail will be recorded and edited and repackaged (by supporters as well as opponents).
Just this past week, the John Edwards blogging brouhaha exhibited all the characteristics of the blogosphere--quick and sharp attention brought to the public by bloggers investigating the hires made by a presidential candidate attempting to spread his message via blogs. Whether the publishing legacy of a campaign staffer exists only on the internet or any other media, literally hundreds of independent investigators are simultaneously unleashed to discern an allegation's veracity or research a person's history. The MSM can only do so much, and often unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) overlooks certain points of view or facts in question. The media uproar did not come from the media itself, but from the stirrings on the blogs creating a buzz over Edwards' newest mouthpieces.
Instead of a story receiving its 15 minutes and then being forgotten almost immediately, blogs and video sites can perpetuate a story (for good or bad) long after the MSM expiration date. The permanence of such records will make it more difficult for candidates to evade or equivocate on past comments, political views, or actions. Even if this quality trends toward the negative side in terms of unintended consequences, the reality is that it will undoubtedly become a permanent part of the political landscape for years to come.
Cross posted at Political Avalanche