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Two contrasting views on the net and politics in The Independent today. For Mary Dejevsky, it's still television that dominates the consumption of politics, and will define how the US votes. Read more.

For Jimmy Lee Shreeve, meanwhile, the election will be won and lost on the web.

Question: We may be asking a slightly skewed sample here (we're on a blog, after all), but how important is the internet in this election?

Comments

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credendovides wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 09:58 am (UTC)
Probably a fair statement to say that it is a skewed sample here.

For me, the internet is a valuable resource. At our fingertips are opinions from both sides of the fence, as well as reports from various organizations (including government) not to mention the candidates own websites. Before the internet you read what the newspaper printed, and watched what TV reported on. But now there are so many places to look, and often you don't have to take it at face value, you can go look for yourself.

On the flip side, it can be a bit of information overload. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people just stick with traditional media simply because they can't be bothered to form their own opinion beyond the key "talking points".
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
While I think the majority general populace is still "consuming" television (and radio) for their information, I don't want to dismiss the internet as the tool Shreeve envisions.

The internet is not, for the moment, how the majority of unmotivated, uninvolved, voters get their info. What the internet does is get messages out in the ways that were previously unavailable. It enables national campaigns to connect quickly with grassroots, get out the vote operations. Those operations are how elections are won in the States, not from watching televison, but from getting people to actually get to the polls on the first Tuesday in November. The internet increases these organizations' potential exponentially.

Another example is the chain e-mail vs the internet. How many here have received the "Obama is a Muslim" or "Obama can't be President" e-mails? I'd bet a fair number. Now that we have sites like Snopes and Fact Check.Org they are much easier to debunk than other myths like Swift Boat and Inventing the Internet.
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
Also, I suggest looking at the power of things like "Snap Polls" which have reduced the effect of spin on debates. When there is that kind of connectivity showing quick results from actual voters, talking heads are limited in their ability to make stories divorced from reality.

See, for instance, the Al Gore sigh.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
I don't own a television, I don't get the newspaper delivered. I get 100% of my news via the internet. I still read newspapers, but not on paper. I still watch television, but in clips when I want to.

I voted in the last presidential election, but I certainly didn't know as much about everything as I do this time. I knew the basics of their platforms, but that was about it.
letitshine wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
the more attention peple pay to the issues, the more important the internet becomes because people will tap it to find the answers to their questions. We are not able too get honest, unbiased coverage from our tv news media. They often do not cover the topics an aware individual is interested in. TV is seen as droning waste of life by many.
tiny_josser wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
I really don't think the net is any more unbiased then tv.
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
While I concur, it is easier to control the content you view, both positively and negatively.

When something is asserted in the TV, unless they have legitimate counterpointing, you aren't going to get to find out arguments against it.

When something is asserted on the internet, you as a user can research the veracity of the claims, as long as you're willing to make the effort.

If, of course, you allow your own vision to cloud the way you search, that will have an impact. But I think that impact is likely less than the controlled editorial direction of modern TV newsrooms.
tiny_josser wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
Considering that those of us living on the web and here the most are also the age group least likely to vote?
Not very.

But candidates must stay current, they must come to us. I believe that since this election is fought more online then any before it; there is a much better chance of young voters knowing the issues and dragging our lazy asses to the booths.
ron_drummond wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I suspect that Dejevsky is right with regard to the general election but that Shreeve is right with regard to the primary season. It certainly seems clear that Barack Obama would not have won his party's nomination without the internet-based networking and fund-raising that made his rise to prominence possible. In the general election, on the other hand, it does seem that the four televised debates are having a seriously outsized impact on the course of the election -- a large majority of those voters who are paying attention are older and many of them are not so linked into their internet realities that the internet serves them as primary news source and vetting tool. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to underestimate the impact that YouTube and other internet sources are having on the ability of people to hold the candidates accountable for their actions and statements.
aishyy wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
I think it's a pretty useful source for this election, for instance, I live in Belfast in Ireland, I wouldn't know half the stuff I know about the election if it wasn't for the internet - sure we get press coverage, but it's nothing like this. On the internet I've had so many debates with complete strangers and found out a lottt of stuff I wouldn't have found out otherwise, it's been great!
brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
The thing about the internet is that, unlike tv, radio, and the print media, we can access information when we want to rather than when they decide to run that story. And, there's more potential for detail. A single web file costs almost nothing, so Instead of having 3 inches of a story or 2 minutes for an interview or 30 seconds for an ad spot, you can read pages and pages of greater and greater detail. Then, you can look things up to verify them. You can see what this has to do with something else. If Katie Couric says someone voted against a bill, you just have to accept it if that's your only source, but on the web, you can instantly read the bill, read the other votes on it, look up analysis on it, check the legal history and case law on it, find out who supported it and who opposed it both on and off Capitol Hill, and then you can send it to everyone you know and some people you don't know.

It can be very powerful.
bossiballs wrote:
Oct. 8th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Generally speaking.
The internet is a space and place whereat over 20% of us currently, are interfacing.

The felt need to only instigate, or be in communication with people we would feel comfortable being in frank exchanges with, no longer has a phisical
threat..........element.

Interestingly this restores personal responsibility, in that the level that considerations like agreement, and submission/aggression
behaviours are pertinent, or not. Moves up from the phisical to the purely energetic level.

This seems to facilitate the by-passing of the entire mental level
(of considerations), and therefore of behaviours: such that it is (online); all about communication proper, as distinct from mere gesturing; and the body languaging of status.

As such it is fascinating to be able to exchange frank communication with people one would normally be extremely reticent in approaching,
and guarded regarding being open with. If not conditioned to avoid.

It is a given that all of us have a sense of what is, and what is not true.

There is effectively, much much less, or even no inherent need to be politically correct.

We are no longer intimidated by group dynamics, nor a felt need to fit in, to any particular social norms.

It is in this open context, that concepts, constructs and content are
being recontextualised.

Positionality, justification, rationality, and even reason itself; are
being examined, and reexamined in light of that all detail can be rigourously gone into, and checked.

Then any tiny doubt, has the space in which to be brought to the attention of everyone.

Which then has a life of its own, in that the question is not about the questioner.

As such, we all are aware that communications judo; in the context of publish and be not damned, nor dammed, beats deception.

However unconsciously.



Edited at 2008-10-08 08:09 pm (UTC)
thelivingword wrote:
Oct. 9th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
internet vs TV
In comparison with all other previous elections, the internet has influenced more people, young and old. Even on Fox News which I watch each evening they run a segment on what is going on in the blogs.

I have only been into blogging since last Spring, and I am just beginning to realize how far reaching it all is. This group for instance is a prime example. Reaching into India, UK and Russia in conversations online continues to be amazing to me.
polarisdib wrote:
Oct. 10th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
I can only come from a personal standpoint here, I can't claim to be speaking for anyone else.

I turned 18 in 2004, meaning I was able to jump immediately into voting, and for the most part the votes that I gave that general election was based mostly on the media games Kerry and Bush played. I now regret the decision to vote in that election, because I based it entirely off of virtual performance. Since then I've made sure to vote in the 2006 election and state and local elections, not satisfied with simply the general election "1 vote" that I perceive most people think is all they get. Throughout that time I've had plenty of time to hear of and decide on issues through various news media including television, newspapers, Internet, and even word of mouth. I've found the Internet to be better than word of mouth, word of mouth to be better than newspapers, and newspapers to be better than television in delivering the real information I've needed to decide on how to vote. The Internet allows for research directly into the main source (voting records, what the bond issue actually says, what will be included on the ballot, plus the campaign websites--all cross-referenced), word of mouth gives me a clearer understanding of what the issues actually mean to actual people, newspapers are good about giving rote information such as poling places and candidate profiles, and the television to date, after four years, has given me nothing but two white men of dubious authority yelling at each other over the most absurd things. All political television no matter what format or show basically breaks down to some version of "Hannity and Colmbs", and the winner of the pissing contest is always the guy who most directly reflects the producers' values.

I am registered Independent. I do not believe such terms as "Democrat, Conservative, Republican, Liberal, Progressive, Radical" apply to ... well... fucking anything as to how the country eventually ends up getting run. Proof? A "neo-conservative" socializing the housing market with a $700billion government bailout is inherently and directly against the very concept of conservativism, meaning that word does not apply as descriptor to our dutifully fucked-up Commander in Chief. All television, cable or [now digital] network, ever offers is different ways of restating those same empty terms as short cuts pointing to an idea I've never comprehended and have yet to meet a single person who could explain.

Peace out,

--PolarisDiB
stchaz wrote:
Oct. 11th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
internet election
Have you seen any of the fawning over-the-top videos posted on youtube supporting Obama? Many are like hymns. This is cult of personality. MLK is rolling in grave over this. Obamna is so about the color of skin and not content of character and that is the problem. Why do whites like Obama? He is what they want in a black man- Clean, articulate, new, fresh (what else did Biden say?) and oh yeah, half white. Not the in your face Snoop Dogg or Iverson no too ethnic. 95% of black voters are expected to vote for OB. You can't get 95% of the people to agree that water is wet!
Also the comments I post on the Obama videos are usually erased fast. All it basically says is NOBAMA and tries to remind viewers of his past associations but no that can't be seen. These fact twisters and book burners want the comments to only be rainbows and lollipops, why no one has a bad opinion of Ob he must be perfect. Now look at the other side and most of the posts are MCCain kool-aid drinkers but at least the criticisms usually stay up. If you don't beleive me, go on Obama Youth and make an anti-Ob comment and see. If you bring yourself to say something controversial about your leader.
This whole UK story line seems anti-McCain too me. Too many glowing Ob headlines. Hey Brits keep your opinions on the Editorial section and just tell us the news without your unimportant views creeping in, its called Journalism. I shouldn't be too hard on you guys you are just following the lead here in the US.
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