Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sea Changes

The internet is changing politics forever and you are witnessing a generational shift right before your eyes. As the ArkFam blog mentioned, we recently witnessed the amazing sight of a newspaper columnist (John Brummett) complaining that he had been misquoted by a candidate's e-newsletter. The reporter was the one complaining about being taken out of context by the candidate's news outlet!

The magnitude of this event and its consequences for the future should not pass unnoticed. In this column Brummett complains that a candidate's blogletter misquoted him. Two days later, in his "Sorry About that Asa" Brummett instead corrects HIMSELF for misrepresenting Asa's views on abortion. Asa's newsletter also made a retraction in referencing Brummett's complaint so it seems the two camps, and understand this is very important, came to some kind of agreement whether overt or unstated.

For generations candidates had to worry about liberal columnists twisting their words and misquoting them. They could only keep smiling at the reporters and hoping that if the were real nice maybe the liberal reporter would get tired of kicking their teeth in. Now we see a determined candidate whose staff is sharp and committed enough to build their own e-news outlet can dish out media punishment rather than simply take it. Candidates are not the only ones who need credibility as currency. Columnists do too. They are vurnerable to their mistatements hurting their stock and trade just like politicians are. It is just that until now, the politicians got beat by the media stick and had nothing to hit back with.

Congratulations are in order to Asa's staff for making the commitment needed to devote so much energy to this new campaign tool. It's potential is still largely untapped, but they have taken it to levels perhaps never before seen in Arkanas politics.

Conservative candidates would do well to pool and build their e-mail lists and basically become their own news outlet with the firepower needed to make professional news-distorters pay for their spin. In order to do that, the candidate outlet will have to maintain at least as much objectivity as the people they are counter-punching. In the case of Brummett, it would of course be impossible to do otherwise, but for those whose secular bias is less obvious this thumb-rule would still apply.

UPDATE: Even today, Mr. Brummett used his whole column to defend himself from claims by Asa's e-newsletter that attacks by Mr. Brummett about their alledged poor grammer were incorrect!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy this unrestricted criticism of the media while it lasts. Although they will fight tooth-and-nail to keep their (often abused) right of freedom of the press, many in the news industry will lobby behind the scenes to minimize the ability of "pajama pundits," as they scornfully refer to bloggers, to compete with them or exert corrective pressure upon them.

10:57 AM, June 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The politicians may also see the advantage of helping the establishment media do this. Especially the media's "house conservatives" who of course are not conservative at all.

4:53 AM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politicians are already moving to clamp down on blogs and the Internet. There is legislation in Congress that would regulate blogs. This of course would help both the media and politicians, who like the idea of restricing the voice of the regular citizen because it allows them to control public communications to the Big Media and to those politicians who are powerful enough and rich enough to take out slick paid television advertisements.

Dick Armey's grassroots organization -- FreedomWorks -- is fighting this effort to restrict freedom of speech.

9:30 AM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogs are the only way that the rest of us will ever get our voices heard. The media is controlled by biased editors, like at the Democrat Gazette, or outright partisans like at the Arkansas Times.

6:13 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asa's newsletter helps pool the blogs by emailing it to a huge list. It gives blogs the potential readership of a flagship newspaper.

Plus the journalists all read the blogs. When one of them gets raked over the coals for a hit piece, they know that all of their peers are going to see the article too! Gives them something to think about for the next time.

6:48 PM, June 26, 2006  

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