Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going on (and off) the Attack

This month's Conde Nast Portfolio asks if we're seeing the end of attack politics. Howell Raines recalls his invitation to the annual press dinner in Washington where he was seated between top political operatives Karl Rove and the Doug Schoen.

While these 30 year veterans battled it out over whether or not Hillary's 3am phone call ad amounted to negative campaigning, our author muses about whether these attacks are going to work with the youngest generation of voters.

He mentions the rise of the blogging class and his belief that we are still in a teenage phase of development simultaneously emulating our parents (big media) but seeking to strike out our own path.

I found his article interesting on two fronts. Were he a member of the new media, he would have blogged about the argument he witnessed as soon as he got home, or from his blackberry in the men's room, gossiping to the web at large about Karl Rove's bluster. Perhaps his not being a blogger is what got him invited to the table in the first place. Secondly, I think its a wide generalization to say that all blogs are created equal. Blogs like the moderate voice, or even policythought are dedicated to trying to invigorate the landscape with substantive debate and not boilerplate "527" style attacks. It's worth noting that this blog refrains from attack politics and might be suffering traffic loss from it. Make no mistake the Internet age is indeed hyperkinetic and eyeballs are what count in the newest age of ratings.

While people seek to find a new media age, I think the changes we will see are both rapid and glacial. The under 30's out there were born into an age of internet consciousness. While the immediate fit of blogs and youtube show up as a new front in the war of attack politics. It will take a generation growing and changing, sharing their thoughts on everything from shoes to China's rising political clout on the web in real time to truly measure what it will do to the electorate. Make no mistake, the times are changing, but no one knows where's we're headed.

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