E-Voter Institute, along with HCD Research, is also conducting the 3rd Annual Survey of Voter Expectations. All research results will be available in mid-July with an eye to helping you make more informed decisions about general election 2008 clients. Watch for notices about the webinar this summer. Go to http://e-voterinstitute.com to download reports from 2006 and 2007.
Remember, the more of us reply by the time the survey wraps up on May 31, the more likely we are to get good results.
Seriously, I’m experimenting with Twitter to get general impressions and a better feel for it as a communications channel. At the moment, I’ll mostly be sending out notifications of new e.pol articles via Twitterfeed, but let’s see what the future brings.
Another McCain adviser, who asked for anonymity discussing internal campaign strategy, bluntly warned: “It’s going to be Swift Boat times five on both sides — The candidates will both do their best publicly to mute it. But in a close race, I don’t see how to shut that down.”
For all of our sakes, let’s hope that some kind of rationality survives. No doubt much of the smearing will happen online, in websites, videos and the kind of behind-the-scenes emails that have already dogged “Manchurian Muslim” Obama. Bloggers will both help AND hurt, helping by researching and puncturing lies, hurting by spreading them. Ultimately, though, the onus is on mainstream journalists to try to separate truth from fiction. Print and online reporters have a far better record on this front so far this year; cable news has been a hellhole of unrepentant rumormongering and idle speculation. Don’t we deserve better?
Interesting new GOP anti-Obama site, via the The Caucus: CanWeAsk.com mixes social media techniques and video to try to undermine Obama’s credibility. The social media approach is the most interesting part of the site, since it’s soliciting text and video questions for the now-presumed nominee (The Caucus correctly notes that the very existence of the site helps to cement the impression that Obama has crossed the finish line). Participants can upload text questions directly to the site, but the video submission process requests YouTube links instead (free product placement!). The site also has a Donate link and a list of unfavorable GOP news articles about Obama.
To me, the video is the weakest part of the presentation, since it shows Barack in still images that are surely intended to paint him in a bad light, but except for the first one (in which his furrowed brow almost suggests devil horns), to me they actually generally make him look serious and sincere (he’s on-screen throughout the whole clip). The video also uses standard negative-ad “concerned” music, and tries to turn an Obama crowd’s “Yes We Can” chant into an affirmation of our right to ask the candidate tough questions, but in the end it actually just reminds me of the guy’s own message. I have to say, this clip feels like a backfire-in-progress. See what you think:
Update: While I was editing this piece, I let the video run in the background, where I could hear it but not see it, and it felt more effective that way. Still, every time the chant of “Yes We Can” came along, it still seemed to undermine the overall feeling of negativity. Maybe it’s just me.
You wouldn’t know it from watching most television news outlets, but a major story has been brewing behind the scenes since it originally broke in the Times Magazine on April 20th: many of the seemingly objective former military officers appearing on TV as analysts in the run-up to the Iraq war actually had financial ties to military contractors — and spent plenty of time being spun by the Pentagon, including by officials with a role in military procurement.
As discussed in Politico today (via Media Bistro), the news outlets in question have resolutely refused to address the issue in public, in several cases even ignoring letters on the subject from members of Congress. But the story has been kept alive in part by the pajama-clad warriors of the blogosphere, some of whom have followed it with bulldog intensity. A classic function of blogs:
“We are in a time when stories can have a second life,” said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. A few years ago, if a story did not generate attention after a week, it could be considered dead, said Rosenstiel, who cited the instance of how bloggers revived the U.S. attorney firings story.
Of course, members of Congress have been involved, including John Kerry, whose online petition hit such a nerve with grassroots Democrats that their response apparently overwhelmed the his online advocacy system’s servers. And of course the story originally ran in the Times Magazine and has been covered on PBS’s News Hour, so bloggers aren’t alone in being on the side of the angels. But we’ve often heard mainstream journalists bemoan the standard of conversation common on blogs, and this incident serves as a perfect example of one reason that citizen journalism matters — the amateurs help keep the professionals honest. That couldn’t happen in anywhere near the same kind of way in the information oligopoly that existed before the internet democratized publishing.
Update: Well, we went a little early and just wrapped up at 4:27, so if you tuned in late, my apologies.
In the wake of Sunday’s Facebook article, e.politics is going into orbit this afternoon — the folks behind XM satellite radio’s POTUS ’08 channel emailed this morning to line up 15 minutes to talk about the social networking site as a political tool. Is there nothing sacred in this world? Will the airwaves (and the children, the poor, poor children) ever be safe again? Should be fun — if you have an XM subscription, tune in around 4:30 Eastern.
Media criticism in context: “Yes, it would be nice if the press spent less time on inanities and more time on how candidates planned to actually run the country. But this view of the media is just too simplistic.” Via Salon.