Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Internet's Influence on Politics - Fair or Not

I really liked this article about the power of the internet and its influence on politics. Really representative of what is going on.

Does the Web Deserve The Power It Gained To Influence Politics?

Web videos, especially on YouTube, are a good place to start. They have been called the death of the TV sound bite, for the way voters can experience lengthy realities without the filters of a news show constrained by time limits and commercials. The 37 minutes of Sen. Obama's race speech quickly became one of the most widely downloaded.

Less clear is whether YouTube will be just as bad, or worse, at blurring the line between a fair point and a cheap shot than newspapers or TV ever were.

Elected officials, especially those in small communities, have complained since the invention of the camera that one sure way to get their picture into the paper is to fall asleep at some legislative event, even one that has lasted all night. But if a dozing politician thinks being in the day's newspaper or the night's newscast was a problem, wait until the clip gets viewed eternally online.

Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns had plenty of other problems when he ran for re-election in 2006, but the campaign wasn't helped when he was caught shutting his eyes for a few seconds at a Senate hearing on a farm bill.

Videos like these may enjoy the popularity they do because they confirm ideas already held about the politicians involved, in which case blaming YouTube confuses cause and effect. But there is a danger that our politics might be shaped by insignificant events that assume an importance merely by having been caught on tape.

No comments:

Post a Comment