Friday, October 06, 2006

A Pox on the "New Media"

Two days ago I listened to an interview on Fresh Air about the right's use of "new media" to divide the nation, inflame their base, and squeak by in every election so that they could rule with impunity. It's scary how efficient they were in using the "New Media" outlets (527's, cable talk shows, blogs, mass mailings etc.)

What sucks is that this appears to be the way of things now. "New Media" outlets specializing in character assasination and endless partisan spin to reach a particular end are now a permanent fixture and are driving the conversation. (Never mind the ethics/facts, full speed ahead.)

What's funny (at least to me) is that more than a century ago, before radio/TV and the mass media, partisan hacks said far worse things and drummed up much more sinister rumors to damn their opponents than anything the modern politicians did to each other today. Their best method was to use word-of-mouth, so salacious rumors having no basis in fact or even apperance were the surest way to accomplish that.

The Roves of this world are doing almost the same thing as the hacks of old, but today they have all of these willing mass media outlets to carry their tune. In the hands of the Swifties and their ilk these "methods" are almost an art form. The rumors aren't as salacious or outrageous, but they have the apperance of being possible that gets people to listen.

Even though this "new way" sucks, at the same time it also scares me that many Dems are just learning this stuff now! Some have graduated (Ned Lamont's victory in Conn was the most recent example), but most are still clinging to the old paradigmn. If the Dems don't use this "gift" and make a big show of trying to force Hastert to resign, they'll only have themselves to blame come Nov.

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