One of the fascinating things about this election cycle is the way the Internet is breaking the stranglehold of traditional political and media institutions. For example, we all knew that Hillary Clinton was a lock for the Democratic nomination because nobody could compete with her massive money machine… that is until Barack Obama used the Internet to go straight to the people, and set new fundraising records in the process.
The same is beginning to happen in terms of media coverage, with some wags referring to 2008 as the first “YouTube election.” The video above is a great example, generating nearly 400,000 views in its first 24-hours online; not quite the audience of a network news program, but damn impressive nonetheless. It begs the question how much longer the national media can stick to the “Straight Talk Express” narrative without damaging (further) their credibility?
Meanwhile the DNC is doing its part to help both voters and reporters discern truth from fiction with today’s launch of McCainPedia:
McCainpedia.org is a wiki run by the DNC’s Research, Communications, and Internet teams. The goal is to centralize research material, allowing the general public to use it as they see fit.
Opposition research is nothing new, but its product is traditionally aimed at journalists and opinion makers, who then regurgitate the tidbits they find most compelling, and in the context of their choosing. Campaign seasons are typically filled with swarms of press releases pushing one factoid or another, most of which never make it into the mainstream media narrative.
With McCainPedia, the DNC is both seeking to cut out the gatekeepers, while simultaneously giving them a tool to do their job better. Sure, this is a partisan site created by a partisan organization, but facts are facts, and each citation is thoroughly documented.
The legacy media may want to ignore these new developments, but they do so at their own peril.