One more post about tonight’s panel (6p at New York University: Warren Weaver Hall, 251 Mercer St.,. Room 109): With such a lineup of luminaries (Arianna Huffington, Micah Sifry, Lisa Tozzi, Jay Rosen), I’m trying to think of ways to nudge the discussion about politics and the internet into new directions. One thought is to — McLaughlin-like, I’m afraid — start by positing some notions and get reaction. Think of it as Oxford lite or as jump balls. Here are some possibilities. I’d be eager to hear more ideas from you.
* Rudy Giuliani lost the election because of the internet (his MySpace page was closed; he never raised money online from individuals; he never started a movement) and Barack Obama will be nominated if not elected by the internet (he did start a movement using online). True or false? what made Obama’s campaign a movement and how much credit does the internet deserve? What has been the secret to his online success?
* We may be talking about racism in the campaign but we’re not talking about sexism (I’m not seeing it). True or false? If not, why not? And what impact is this ism having?
* Apart from the Hillary Clinton 1984 ad (and a few very recent and fairly click anti-Obama ads), most of the voter video we’ve seen on YouTube is crude and as lacking in skill as it is lacking in intelligence. True or false? I was among those who predicted that we’d see a flowering of voter creativity and advocacy. Why haven’t we?
* The most important online tool for campaigns this year has been — not blogs, not Facebook or MySpace, certainly not Twitter — but YouTube? True or false? Did it really manage to free the candidates from the tyranny of the 15-second soundbite and set the agenda in discussion and coverage? Or is that just web 2.0 wishfulness?
* Whoever wins will have to continue making YouTube videos and blogging or else everything they’re doing in this campaign will have been just a cynical act. True or false? This was the answer to a question I put to the head of David Cameron’s web activities in the UK. Clinton has promised to have agencies blog. Obama has promised to open up data. Will they continue their more personal and human relationship with constituents or is that act soon going to be over?
* We are nowhere nearer Joe Trippi’s dream of eliminating big money and TV from ruling campaigns. True or false? Yes, Obama raised huge money from huge numbers of people, but the amount needed only grew as well and TV is still at the center of campaigns. Is there any hope for Trippi?
* The primary system is broken and the internet is the way to fix it. True or false? The idea of state primaries is outdated when we can all see the same media and interact with campaigns in new ways online.
* The jig is up on journalistic objectivity and the internet forced the issue. True or false?
Or I won’t do this and we’ll discuss the impact of the internet on campaigns and government. As always, I’m eager for your thoughts.
Remember that the panel will be webcast by Rachel Sterne in Groundreport.TV.
P.S. If you’re doing I’m told this about the location: The entrance is blocked by construction so go to 40 West 4th Street, New York University’s Gould Plaza. The entrance to the Courant Institute is on the East side of the plaza (on your left hand side facing the plaza).