Posts from July 30, 2004

If markets are a conversation… and news… so should politics be

If markets are a conversation… and news… so should politics be

: After I blogged that the political conventions should be distributed across the country, Cameron Barrett, former chief blogger for Wesley Clark, emailed me to report that he had proposed just that to the DNC. Sadly, they didn’t take him up on the smart plan. Now Cam tells us about it.

He told the DNC that it “needs to start moving away from the ‘broadcast politics’ of the past 40 years and more towards something called ‘participatory politics’ ” and proposed building a network of thousands of Democrats’ blogs for the convention. He told the DNC in May:

By opening up the communication between those attending the Convention and the general public, it enhances the idea of inclusion, participatory democracy and openness — best represented by the Democratic Party.

All politics is ultimately local. Delegates are at the Convention representing their constituencies, their interest groups, their politicians and the American people of the Democratic Party. Providing a categorized online communication architecture that outlines this for the American public so they can participate in the conversations they care about the most with the delegates, their politicians and other concerned Americans is a crucial step. The Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC is all about command and control, with their army of trained underlings. The Democratic Party (and, ultimately the Kerry campaign) should be about channeling the diversity of their supporters in ways that benefit the Party. The core concept here is bi-directional communication — communication that goes in both directions, from the top down but also from the bottom up.

Alas, they weren’t ready for the future.

Cam told the Democrats that a thousand Democrats’ blogs beat one Democratic Party blog. Amen.

He also wishes that the bloggers who had attended had involved the citizenry more, soliciting their questions and trolling the hall to get answers.

The missed story in Bostn

The missed story in Bostn

: What I really wanted bloggers to do in Boston was find the stories that weren’t being covered. They didn’t, frankly, because there weren’t stories worth covering. That’s why bloggers covered themselves and why the press covered bloggers; it was all that was new. Or so it seemed.

Jay Rosen found the story that was truly missed, a story that is about more than the convention; it’s about America; it’s about the world; it’s about our age and it was right under thousands of noses for news in Boston:

Security. It was all about insecurity, really. It was telling us that we live in a different world than the last time there was a poltiical convention. If there needed to be something “new” to report, it was not, by god, the bloggers. It was this: the reason we needed all this security. It not only spoke of politics, but world politics, and not in an abstact way, but in every way a person can experience life. Hey, what was all this security about? And who authored it? Ultimately, Al Queda did. So things had to stop short of ultimately.

That was a story I think we missed. The unbelievably out-in-force Security–double searches, forced to walk through pens made of wire, and much, much more–was like a stream of data telling us a lot about the state of the nation, the state of the world, and, yes, the seriousness of this election– and of the convention itself, a political event after all….

I think all 30,000 of us missed the story of what the security invasion was telling us about the state of the nation, which is bound up with other nations on the globe we live on, and actors beyond that category, too. But that would lend an out-of-control and unintentional gravity to proceedings that are supposed to be fun and rah-rah….

It wasn’t reported, Jay says, because “it would have required us to admit it: Al Queda also came to the convention.”

And Al Qaeda will be coming to New York next. But then, the reason this is a story is that Al Qaeda lives next to us every day now.

Bravo for Apple

Bravo for Apple

: I kvetched earlier about my Apple problems and so I need to be fair and say that an assistant manager named Ron at the Short Hills Apple store rescued me and swapped my hosed iPod for another one. I had to grovel only a little. He went around procedure but he gave the customer a win and, as I told him at the end, “you’ve made a friend.”

On the one hand…

On the one hand…

: Steve Safran at Lost Remote says it’s time to end this network timewaster:

We have to stop the silly, stupid and pointless practice of having one Democratic analyst and one Republican analyst for every political event and story. It adds absolutely nothing to the viewers’ understanding of a story to have people from both sides spinning. Want to help the viewers? Put lots of information in context, with background reports and information on your website. Use neutral observers and thoughtful interpreters of politics. Pretend balance is worse than no balance.

Our pal, Jeff

Our pal, Jeff

: Jeff Greenfield is probably the bloggers’ best booster in big media because he earnestly likes the things (it’s not just a fad) and he’s influential. He says to TVNewser:

I think the real-time quality to the opinions, corrections, and other voices is terrific; when someone makes a reference to another voice, says ‘read the whole thing’ and lets you link to the other voice, it’s a breakthrough in political dialogue. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t fear the lack of editorial control, because there’s a self-correcting mechanism at work, and if peopel don’t like the tone of the blogs, there’s still plenty of traditional media around. My big complaint is that it’s forced me to get up earlier to read all this stuff–including yours.

Not sure yet what I think of the bloggers’ convention coverage. In hindsight, what I think I really want from bloggers is the voice of the voter in the thick of the action — not new journalists, not new pundits, but just people, citizens. I saw some of that. Jay Rosen also gave me what I expected from him — abstracting the experience to find its underpinnings and assumptions — which is amazing since he did it nearly live (for an academic!). I won’t try to catalogue the rest yet; as I said, I’m still mulling. But Charles Cooper at CNET didn’t need any time to decide what he thought: “most of the credentialed bloggers came off like cyberhayseeds in the big city.” But neither did Hugh Hewitt: “The arrival of the bloggers is a big deal. They’ll never not be here in the future, and now the question is who gets to blog the debates?” Oh, Hugh, we all can… from our couches…. with beer in hand….

The John-John moment

jfk_jr_salute.jpgkerrysalute2.jpgThe John-John moment

: That’s what I called it last night: Kerry’s John-John moment. Just a tad too cute. Did you cringe just then? I did.

Did they intend this to be a separated-at-birth scene: the Kennedy legacy handed down from Bostonian to Bostonian in Boston, from JFK to JFK to JFK?

Well, Senator, we know JFK; JFK was a friend of ours; Senator, you’re no JFK.

F’ing DNC

F’ing DNC

: The man in charge of the balloons last night dropped more than helium on the DNC; he dropped the F bomb on CNN. If this had gone out on broadcast, many of the legislators sitting in that hall would have the stations and networks that aired that one silly little word hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

Vlogging

Vlogging

: Steve Garfield vlogged the convention. I’m surprised I didn’t see more citizen video from Boston.

: Speaking of vlogging, Unmediated finds a very nice video hosting service that lets you add video to your blog. Have at it, future Michael Moores!