Two articles in today’s Post (which I read sitting on my front stoop on this most perfect summer Sunday morning) illuminate very different ends of the spectrum of online political activity.
First, a front-page story profiles Greg Letiecq, local Prince William County, Virginia blogger and political activist, who helped write that county’s new anti-immigrant policies. Though described by critics as a “schoolyard bully” and a practitioner of “yellow journalism,” Letiecq sees himself as an heir to the political pamphleteering tradition and as someone not afraid to pull punches. I agree with the guy on, well, just about nothing, but I have to be impressed with the way he’s translated opionion, attitude and an eye for local news into real political power. Though I searched his site in vain for much evidence of the “media-savvy” “video, photos and snazzy graphics” cited by reporter Nick Miroff.
Next up, Jose Antonio Vargas, the paper’s designed online politics guy, travels to California to hang out at Google, the center of the technology world and a popular stop on the presidential campaign trail. In town hall-style meetings with big groups of company employees,
The candidates learn about products such as Google Earth, a satellite imaging program; get an introduction to what’s referred to as the company’s Googley culture; and discuss a wide range of topics (atheism, Russian relations, Internet access in Africa) in hour-long sessions that can seem a long way from Iowa and New Hampshire.
One problem: Googlers seem to expect substance, not sound bites (they’re so needy). McCain, Hillary, Edwards and tech favorite Ron Paul all stop by to say howdy, though Paul’s global warming skepticism was not well received by an audience more sympathetic to other parts of his libertarian mindset. More on Google’s political influence.