How the Blogosphere changed the Election

Much has been made of the blogosphere, and the twitterverse and many have questioned the value of this level of meta-chatter as part of our national political discourse. The blogosphere has been debunked as the “echo-chamber” little more than a place where like minded people repeated their opinions (often based on bias information) back to each other in an endless loop. Even we here at thinkPOP have questioned whether or not the blogosphere simply increases the liklihood of us living in a fact-less world.

From a post in our days as Policythought:

…But in the age of the internet it’s far worse than that. I can ensconce myself in ideological blogs and podcasts, the echo-chamber effect. And when empirical evidence begins to pop up that my ideology or political leader might not be right, I can simply recreate reality through unfounded stories and minority reports…

…The Internet for all it’s power to share information, might actually be encouraging people to pull further into their demographic an ideological enclaves than explore others…

That’s the down side of world of blogging, tweeting, and facebook-status changing that we now live in. But there is an upside, and we saw it at play this week.

The sense many were getting from John McCain rallies across the country was that his supporters had taken on an ugly “some have called it “hard edged” tone. It was one of those stories everyone felt was true but there wasn’t much evidence of so it never gained traction. This is also the kind of story the main stream media (a term I really hate, please someone come up with a better one) can’t really cover effectively. Polls and surveys never accurately reflect something as touchy as racism. And once a film crew and news reporter come in to take video all of the sudden people are on their best behavior.

Enter the citizen journalist, enter the blogger.

While he clearly had an agenda in making the video, his being an “average Joe” citizen not only made it more likely for people to answer honestly, it gave a forum for people to speak their minds. It was just a guy with a camera, not CNN. But when this video went up on youtube and linked to small blog after small blog, then to the major blogs like Politico, the MSM had no choice but to pay attention to a very real story that was captured and exposed on video for the world to see.

That eruption has shown the ugly side of McCain’s support and has fundamentally changed how McCain deals with some of these folks. Just today, Politico is up with another field report of an uncomfortable exchange between McCain and some supporters at a rally. The point here is that citizen journalism that exposed a real truth about the campaign changed the narrative of the race. That is the power of the blogosphere and the new media age. We need to embrace that power as a way of legitimizing the media landscape Americans find less and less trustworthy.

New Theme

OK, so maybe not “The Change We Need.” But I thought why not shake it up a little here at thinkPOP. Take a look and let me know what you think of the new theme….comments welcome.

Best Bloggers in the Business

This is one of those times where I show my naked admiration for professional bloggers that are (at least to me) leading the way in covering this extraordinary campaign season. While there are many excellent reads out there (see blog roll) I need to mention these three, in no particular order. 

Johnathan Martin covering republicans for politico.com and he counterpart Ben Smith covering the democrats. Their blogs are sharp, consistant, informative, and with enough real-world perspective not to get too wonkish. If you aren’t subscribed to their RSS feeds yet, you should be. 

The other blog to mention is The Fix on the Washington Post. Chris Cillizza writes an exceptional take on the emerging stories of the day/week. Clearly more opinionated than the first two mentioned, The Fix likes to mix it up. A great read and real opinion generator. 

If you keep up with the political season no other way than reading these three blogs, you’ll be better informed than most voters.

A Note on Comments

 

Here at thinkPOP we believe in open discussion of the day’s issues, politics, policy, and pop culture. In fact, we’re dedicated to fostering it. Our comment boards are extremely inclusive, in fact we enjoy comments in disagreement more that comments of agreement. If you make a comment on a post of ours here on thinkPOP it will most likely get approved. There are but a few exceptions. 

1. Foul Language-its a family friendly blog here, folks. While we all slip into the occasional “@#($&$!!!” but we need to keep it clean for the kids.

2. Over the top, direct attacks of people, no matter how public a person they may be. I have called the occasional columnist a Pinhead (Kristol, I’m looking at you), but I have also seen the comment boards on Politico.com and what passes for opinion is nothing more than vitriol. I don’t need chum in the water. If you have serious misgivings about Sarah Palin, let us know, if you wouldn’t trust Hillary Clinton with a lawn dart much less a nuclear weapon, we want to hear about it. But please keep your more personal and disgusting remarks for these and all politicians to yourselves. 

3. NO SPAM, should be an obvious one. Hey if you read something on thinkPOP and post a response on your blog, definitely post a link, I wanna go see. If you are “from ethiopia” and “require just one dollar and my ATM card number to start your dream business.” Take a hike. 

Simple. Effective. These are the “rules” here on thinkPOP. As this post will go the way of the of all ephermal blog posts…it will also be found HERE on our comment policy page.

 

What We Didn’t Hear This Week

The banking crisis that developed from the credit crisis that developed from the sub-prime crisis has generated extraordinary actions and reactions on Wall Street and in Washington. The swift and decisive corrective actions of Treasury secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have the presidential campaigns and the commentators on across the spectrum breathless trying to keep up.

 

I am an avid reader of the daily blogs and I do my very best to keep up with the latest commentary on all things national news and politics of the day. There are a wide variety of opinions on how we got into this mess, how we should get out, if the Treasury is doing the right thing…if the campaigns acted properly etc, etc.

 

But there was far too much heat and far too little light this week. I suppose a crisis always breeds panic. But unlike the shock of 9/11 which largely pulled Americans together, this crisis is pulling Americans apart. To watch everyone from Bill Moyers to John McCain tell it fat cats on Washington played fast and loose with borrowed money and got us into this terrible debacle. To listen to Barack Obama, and the leftist think-tanks tell it, if only for better regulation, and that darned Bush administration we never would have gotten into this mess in the first place.

 

What no one, neither candidate, and not even Hank Paulson himself has said is simple Thanks and we’re sorry. The American tax payer is about to be put on the hook for anywhere from $750 billion to $1 trillion dollars. Putting this on the balance sheet of the treasury department will just about double the national debt. A debt you and I, our children and grandchildren will continue to pay. So I would like to hear a word of thanks from the administration, from Wall Street, and from the talking heads. Thanks for being there, again, to bailout the heady traders and spenders of Wall Street, and to bailout the system that was left unregulated by those meant to ensure it would work.

 

Instead of solidarity across America to come together to deal with a crisis of our own making, we hear partisan shots fired across the bow, the call for firings of specific members of the administration-the blame game.

 

The candidate that stands on the stump and says that this problem is deeper and more complex than any of us really understand. That our lust for cheap money both on Wall street and on Main street got us into this mess and we’re really not sure how we’re going to get out-but that in the end, the ingenuity, hard work, and national pride we all share will get us through these dark days and on to a brighter future, might not win the election, but they will win my respect. The truth is this problem is so wide and so complex that only the contributions of generations of hard working Americans can save what Wall Street and Washington have wrought.

 

When will the little guy get the respect for being the white knight? When will we get our due?

Sarah Palin dominates the Sunday morning shows and WordPress

There are those that think the Palin pick was brilliant (few), there are those that think the Palin pick was desperate (more). One thing’s for sure, it has dominated both the Sunday morning shows and the blogosphere today. Some links from around wordpress…

An Alaskan Perspective

Sarah Palin’s Religion

The Traveling Catsuit?

Photos and more photos.

And we here at thinPOP certainly got into the act…here and here and here

But she was also the main topic of conversation on all the Sunday morning shows. 

This pick is something that gains media attention, and the double-edged sword that bears….

How I got started blogging

In an effort to embed myself further into the blogosphere, I’m writing in response to a post I found, looking for the story of how I began blogging. ThinkPop is a relatively new blog. I started it about a month ago, however, its a rebirth of sorts of a blog I started about year ago called Policythought. Policythought was an effort to elevate policy about politics and debate issues. I consistently found myself debating my friends about policy positions but always wanted to expand that conversation to wider audience. All too often I think the Internet is being utilized as a place to share ideas, more as an echo chamber. And so, I was quickly joined by a few friends to start building the debate. 

Recently, I decided to rebrand a bit and expand to Policy, Politics, and Pop Culture. Why? Because increasingly its hard to separate out the popular culture from the politics and then from the policies. They are distinct, but often the lines are blurry. It’s also a way of expanding the scope of our readership beyond policy wonks. We hope its working…if our hit counter is any indication. Then it already is.