Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Political Pushback

Yesterday I offered up an example of how one can make a reasoned case for a candidate with supporting documentation using the Internet.

There's another use for this new media as well -- it can provide an opportunity for rebuttal.

(I'm deliberately not commenting on the current state of the campaign -- my goal isn't to support a particular candidate, but to look at how new technology is impacting the process)

Ron Paul's supporters early on started populating the web with video documentation supporting their claims that mainstream media marginalized their candidate.

In today's example, "Cameron," a lawyer from California strongly disagreed with assertions Representative Jack Kingston made about Barack Obama on Bill Maher's "Real Time" TV show.

Now in the olden days, Cameron might have talked to friends and coworkers about how Kingston's allegations were wrong, and perhaps he might have persuaded a few folks with his rhetoric.

More people would have heard the senator on the television show than Cameron, though, and Kingston's allegations would have just spread through the political zeitgeist as fact -- or perhaps almost-fact, for who could prove otherwise?

Thanks to the Internet, Cameron could. In his blog Cameron addresses each of Kingston's points and provides solid documentation to refute each claim.

Obama doesn't say the Pledge of Allegiance? Here's a clip from C-Span showing him leading the Senate in a recitation. Obama lacks bipartisan credentials? Here're links to two bipartisan legislation he's worked on.

Cameron, like GM, offers source material for the reader to support their position. You don't have to take Cameron's word about what Obama did or didn't say about Pakistan. You can watch the clip and judge for yourself. You can look up the legislation Cameron points to and decide for yourself if these are good examples of bipartisan cooperation.

The point here isn't about Obama and what he is or isn't.

The point is this: in this new world of the Internet political discourse is not only open to debate, it's open to fact-checking. For every politician or supporter that tries to spin the facts, there's someone who's more than willing to post the documentation that proves otherwise.

Mainstream media won't report it, but thanks to linking and reposting, Cameron's rebuttal reached many more people than the immediate friends and family it would have pre-Internet. And Cameron's rebuttal is not that hard to find.

A private citizen, voicing his opinion and offering facts to support it in a public forum? Now that's democracy in action!

- Ralph


  1. Thanks for using me as an example!

    It seems clear the blogosphere is having a significant impact on this election. We've witnessed failed attempts to spread misinformation about the candidates that might've had more traction just four years ago (e.g., swift boat veterans). Instead of sixty-second spots, voters are getting election information from the internet, where it's easier to get the facts.

  2. Absolutely.

    Old school politicians and spin masters are used to cherry-picking the information they present to make their case. I don't think some of them understand that on this Interwebtube thingy ALL the facts are available -- and there's plenty of folks ready and willing to fact-check their claims.