A Spectre Haunts the Internet

Many of us will always remember the election campaign of 04 through the lens of frequent late night visits to BackPages. So, this tidbit from an article on the internet and democracy is interesting indeed:

Most blogs languish in obscurity but some give rise to new media personalities. Christopher Sheil, who ran the political back pages blog, reported more than 400,000 website hits for the election month of October, making his site a good example of the way detailed political analysis and discussion can be facilitated online.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

That was an interesting article, though it mostly concentrated on the Left’s largely unsuccessful attempts to use the Internet for political purposes.

The Right has been more successful in this, especially in the US elections of 2004. I think that the difference is due to the Internet offering an alternative to conventional mass media, which tend to favour the Left. Consequently, the Right can gain something from the net, whereas for the Left there is less to gain.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Maybe, EP. It’s certainly true that the internet was used as a mobilisation tool by both Democrat and Republican parties in the US election. I don’t know too much about what went on with the Republicans. I think with the Democrats there was both a bottom-up surge of interest (associated largely with the Dean campaign – anyone interested could do some googling – what was interesting there was the number of sites, message boards, blogs etc that were started independently of the campaign) and a top-down use of the net for mobilising interest and turnout. I had a bit of a look at the Kerry campaign’s site and it seemed to me that while they took some tips from the Deansters’ experience, it was a much more controlled phenomenon.

Robert
2022 years ago

conventional mass media, which tend to favour the Left

Um. Yeeaaahh…

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I think the big part the Internet played in the US campaign was due to blogs.

In particular, the Democratic campaign was severely disrupted at two points:

(1) The attack of the Swift Boat Vets, which was supporessed by the mainstream media until the continuing coverage by blogs meant it could no longer be ignored.

(2) Rathergate, where a coordinated attack by the Democrats and CBS on Bush’s National Guard service was derailed by the bloggers’ exposure of fraudulent evidence.

The Democratic Party campaign never recovered from these blows, and was unable either to establish Kerry as a credible candidate, or to undermine W’s credibility.

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

“The attack of the Swift Boat Vets, which was suppressed by the mainstream media until the continuing coverage by blogs meant it could no longer be ignored.”

Was this before or after TV advertisement attack?
While I tend to agree that blogs with their near universal readership (well, by my hitcount meter) are more influential than TV, I would just quibble with Evil Pee’s timeline. I remember that underground TV ads were the vehicle that began the attack, and then the mainstream blog-media picked it up.

Then there is this account from Nationalreview prior to the election.

“The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have certainly eclipsed most other political news for the past couple of weeks. They have overshadowed oil prices hitting record highs, weakening retail-sales estimates, declining Dow Jones and NASDAQ averages, and the ongoing battle in Najaf. That isn’t to say that the media aren’t covering these news items; it is to say that there isn’t ongoing political analysis of these issues and their impact on the presidential race.”

Actually the more I look at it, the more convinced I am that Evil Pee’s attempts at propaganda are completely inept. Normally, disinformation must contain elements of truth which should be twisted to suit. Evil Pee starts with a completely stupid falsehood and goes downhill from there.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Good Lord! Don’t anyone tell dear ol’ Prof Bunners about this, or he’ll be weeks going spare trying to count the leftoids under his bed.

Hi EP! Still refusing to take your pills I see.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

God you’re a dullard, wbb. You clearly can’t understand the concept of chronology.

Hi, Chris. Still a lefty wanker, I see. :)

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Surprised you didn’t accuse Chris of driving a Volvo, EP, given how much you hate Sweden :) Oh, hang on, I seem to remember at BackPages once…

tim
tim
2022 years ago

All hail this youthful new media personality, whose views are so refreshingly distinct from Old Media types such as Alan Ramsey, Margo Kingston, and Mike Seccombe!

(By the way, this book Chris is working on … is it a real book, such as we might buy in Borders, or is it an Evatt Foundation shelf-filler with a title along the lines of “an examination of ALP small-business policy 1972-1996”?)

media personality
2022 years ago

It seems rather churlish to lash out all antsy at new media personalities, albeit of the more mature variety, from the obscurity within which you languish timmy. I suggest you try to think of something calming, or do some exercises.

As for the book, I can see you still have your wonderfully open-mind. Alas, you’ll just have to be patient I’m afraid. You’ll find out in due course what sort of shelf-filler it is, but I hope you can appreciate that there’s no point in stirring controversy before it can lead to sales. Mind you, I here reveal that it’s not an Evatt shelf-filler. I further reveal that it’s not a shelf-filler about small-business, at least not directly, although you’re pretty snooty about that topic, which is one of the problems with you media elites … In the meantime, you can probably get some of my earlier books from Borders if you want to fill your shelves now, or the tension is really getting to you, or you could have last time I was in the store.

tim
tim
2022 years ago

“Things I Didn’t Say, or Mean, or can Otherwise Explain Away: a Media Personality Reflects on his Blogging Life.”

That’s a book by you I’d love to read, Chris. Or maybe “An Expert’s Guide to Selecting Successful Election Candidates.”

Robert
2022 years ago

So how many books have you written, Tim?

media personality
2022 years ago

One book at a time tim, one book at a time … your anxious speculation is getting dangerously close to my book after this! Try deep breathing …

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I bet Chris has a copy of every ABBA album ever released.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Watch it Evil. You bag Abba and you’ll have Homer Paxton on you like a ton of bricks!