Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Rise of Politico.com

One of the things we try to discuss at Policythought is media coverage. In every avenue of our democracy a free and unfettered press is the unwritten check and balance to our government. We've watched the media change the way politicians and citizens interact and how issues become important within our society.

But what happens when the media can actually change a story? What happens when a media outlet becomes capable of actually changing the way something like say a presidential primary works? That's what happened last week and its what's been happening rapidly since politico.com came on the scene.

Remarkably, Politico was founded little more than a year ago, when John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei left the Washington Post to create a website that covered politics 24/7. In that short window of time Politico hasn't simply become another website in a sea of websites on politics. It has in no uncertain terms become a powerful force in shaping political debate.

Take last week for example. Senator Obama had a very tough week dealing with the Rev. Wright issue and the remaining fallout. But by the time Sunday and the talk shows came around it was one headline story on Politico that had all the pundits talking. The title was Story behind the story: The Clinton Myth. That story changed the week's narrative from simply "Obama had a tough week." to "Obama had a tough week, but Clinton still can't win." Politico, with its decisive insight and strong worded reporting of the mathematical reality cut through the mountains of spin coming from both camps to highlight the reality of the campaign and shift the focus of the debate.

When was the last time a media outlet did that?

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