What's missing in MSM accounts of this election? Arianna Huffington nails it:
McCain is running a textbook Rovian race: fear-based, smear-based, anything goes. But it isn't working. The glitch in the well-oiled machine? The Internet.YouTube video's massive virality, blogging and fact-checking, email and web-based fundraising. This is part of the difference in 2008: the other huge part is the web's contribution to Obama's far superior 'ground game'.
But there is a diamond amidst all this dung: the lack of traction this Rovian politics is getting. It's as if Rove and his political arsonists keep lighting fires, only to see them doused by the powerful information spray the Internet has made possible.Those following this stuff will say that once this is over and the books and articles written we'll be able to more clearly see the difference the internet has made. Frankly I think it's already blindingly obvious.
The Internet has enabled the public to get to know candidates in a much fuller and more intimate way than in the old days (i.e. four years ago), when voters got to know them largely through 30-second campaign ads and quick sound bites chosen by TV news producers.
Compare that to the way over 6 million viewers (on YouTube alone) were able to watch the entirety of Obama's 37-minute speech on race -- or the thousands of other videos posted by the campaign and its supporters.
The Internet may make it easier to disseminate character smears, but it also makes it much less likely that these smears will stick.
And I think this will hit the UK in, oh, two years time?