Colin Delany History February 4, 2007

Saturation Coverage of Internet Politics in the Post

Our beloved Internets were all over the Post this weekend, from the political pages to Outlook to the Arts section. The fun started early on Saturday with a “Special to The Washington Post” article by Zachary A. Goldfarb about Barak Obama and social networking: at his first rally since he formed an exploratory committee, Obama spoke Friday to a group of thousands of students assembled through Facebook (via SmartMobs).

On Sunday the dam broke, with the ‘net figuring into at least four articles with some relationship to politics or advocacy, most obviously in Jennifer Earl’s excellent look at online organizing and activism (“Where Have All the Protests Gone? Online.”) featured on the front page of Outlook:

As some types of online activism allow people to take part quickly and easily, it opens the door for broader changes, shifting how regularly people take part in political actions. Such streamlined activism may lead to more frequent, and more committed, political engagement on the part of everyday citizens. And politicians seeking donations, votes and other kinds of support may look to tap into this new generation of self-selected, point-and-click activists. Much like the Web, these online petitions are an end in themselves as well as a gateway to new kinds of action.

The web also stars in Lyndsey Layton’s Sunday article about two freshman congressmembers’ posting of their schedules online (“Capitol’s Newcomers Try a Little Openness”) — apparently, letting your constituents know how you spend your time is a radical concept. And if you read Carol D. Leonnig’s piece on the Scooter Libby trial, you learned that pages from the web, printed and marked-up, have become disputed pieces of evidence (“Libby Prosecutors Hope to Show Marked News Articles”). Finally, Ann Hornaday takes center stage in the Arts section with her excellent “Rules for YouTube: Make Art, Not Bore.” (good advice for anyone trying to use online video as a persuasive tool).

One other recent Post piece has really stuck in my mind, though: Eugene Robinson’s discussion of the Biden “clean” comment about Obama. He focused mostly on a more subtle piece of word choice, Biden’s use of the word “articulate” — why are black speakers always “articulate” and not, say, “eloquent?” Is it a coded way of saying that they don’t sound “black?” Words always embody assumptions, and these are some that are worth dragging out into the open.

Finally, and this time I mean it, Prince’s halftime show tonight absolutely kicked ass — the first REAL concert they’ve shown during the Superbowl in years, and by a fantastic musician and true showman. That effect with his shadow being cast on the billowing sheet was AWESOME. And Billy Joel, not exactly my favorite, did a creditable job on the national anthem. Good work on the team videos at the start of the game, too, CBS. There, that’s all my niceness for the week, out of the way early.

cpd

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