Join the panel

Tomorrow at the Politics Online conference in Washington, I’m moderating a panel with Jay Rosen, Jim Brady of, and David Plotz of Slate, on the changes in media in campaigns today. Here are some of my talking points. Please add yours:

* Is it possible to break out of the old media campaign narrative of races, fights, spin, stereotypes? How?
* Political reporting is often not really reporting. It’s about repetition, rumors, spin, opinion, handicapping, predicting, leaking. So the relationship of MSM and blogger/amateur/citizen (whatever we are today) is different. We, the people, can do much of what they, the reporters do. So who should be doing what?
* There’s a new relationship between candidates and citizens. What can it be?
* Can campaigns be conversations?
* Can we question candidates in new ways?
* Can we take over more in the operation of campaigns?
* Candidates have no ways to route around reporters and editors to citizens. What’s good and what’s bad about that?
* Will we end up with more or less spin? Do these new media offer more ways to issue spin or to cut through it?
* What is our new relationship as voters with candidates?
* Is it better that we will see more of the candidates — through their lenses and ours?
* Let’s discuss the danger of the gotcha moment, henceforth known as the macaca moment. Do we need to be more forgiving of gaffes when we hear more? If we want the candidates to be more human do we need to accept their human falliblity?
* What new reporting can we accomplish now with pro/am effort? What new information do we need?
* Can we drive new ways to cover campaigns? What should they be?
* Can we escape the duotone red/blue stereotype and narrative through listening to the subtler views of more people?
* What might the impact on campaign advertising be when we can all see the worst of the ads on YouTube? Better through shame? Or worse through free distribution?
* What will the impact of citizen-made commercials be?
* Discuss US vs European and left vs right experience so far with YouTube.
* What advice do we have for the candidates? How should they be using these new media and how should that affect their campaigns and relationships with us?
* What advice do we have for bloggers, vloggers, et al. What should they be concentrating on?
* What advice do we have for MSM press? How can they do their jobs better?
* Will this this new, open media have a profound impact on campaigning? Write the analysis story a decade from now.
* Can and should candidates carry on this new communication while in office? Will the next President vlog?

(Crossposted at PrezVid)

  • how do we deal with deliberate disinformation campaigns run by professionals, like swiftboaters?


  • Everyone talks about how new media effects the presidential race? What about city council and school board races in cities and small towns?

  • Good questions, Jeff.

    But, sheesh, how long is that panel going to last? I hope you’ve got a good 5-6 hours!

  • I just want to answer this question:

    Let’s discuss the danger of the gotcha moment, henceforth known as the macaca moment. Do we need to be more forgiving of gaffes when we hear more? If we want the candidates to be more human do we need to accept their human falliblity?

    The problem of human fallibility is not new to the era of online campaigning and blogging. For a long time, MSM journalists and opposing canddiates have done research into the past on candidates, looking for just this sort of “Macaca Moment” in which a candidate makes some sort of gaffe. Witness the broadcasting of President Bush’s comments to those next to him when he happened to me micced up.

    Far too often we think some sort of mistake is an example of racism, sexism, or just plain mean heartedness. But mistakes are a part of human life and we cannot expect our leaders to be perfect or without error in their past. If we did, we would have to have canddiates raised in a monestary or convent and trotted out just prior to the race, muzzled to prevent misstatements and handled to within an inch of their lives. What result do we get, someone who has no concept of the problems faced by real people in teh real world. Not a very good trade off.

    The difficulty is that modern technology has made the “Macaca Moment” easy to record and dessminate. That we in the blogosphere routinely aid and abet such dissemination does not make it news or newsworthy. In the end, it will be incumbent upon each blogger/reporter to judge for themselves whether one incident is worthy of reporting. I tend to think not.

  • Mark

    If getting newspaper editorial board support is so damned important, why don’t candidates spend more money advertising in newspapers? Or do they covet the endorsement just so they can run a bunch of TV spots hyping the fact?