Ohio and the Blogs

The day Paul Hackett announced his campaign for US Senate is probably the last day anyone would think I would post a diary coming to the defense of Sherrod Brown, but the blogosphere is a strange place.

This morning's Columbus Dispatch has an editorial blasting the Brown campaign for reaching out the the blogosphere.

As someone who spends most of my time talking about the importance of the blogosphere, I think this is total bullshit to attack a politician for trying to reach out online.

It is a good thing for politicians to reach out online. The blogosphere presents politicians a rare opportunity to bypass the media filter and go directly to the people. Not just talk at them, but go interact with them.

As I see it, the attacks about the money and Jerome distract from the real campaign and the real issue at hand.

After the OH-02 Special Election, the quote everyone picked up was how Republicans should be on notice, but so should the Democratic Establishment. This is the crux of the issue.

Brown seems to think his voting record means the netroots will flock to his campaign. But it hasn't happened and it won't. Online, people want interaction, they want involvement, they want participatory democracy. Over the summer, Hackett gave the blogosphere inspiration, hope, and a way to get involved. One person at a time, we were inspired and began to act.

Blogs aren't like political organizations, getting the support of a blogger doesn't mean you have the support of the readers. Blogs operate from the bottom up, not top down.

The true story is how this is shaping up between an politician trying to take a top-down, talk-at-you-with-ads approach to the blogosphere vs. an outsider who inspired netroots activists one at a time to have a vast bottom-up movement. That is the story that should be written.

But enough of this crap about Jerome. Seriously, enough attacks against individual bloggers in this race.

I'm glad to see Sherrod Brown trying to reach out online, even if he thinks of it like traditional broadcast communication. I'm glad to see candidates advertise on blogs, I would love it if we had enough ads so that 10 times as many bloggers could blog full time.

That is one of the reasons I support Paul Hackett, because he gets it when it comes to the blogs. While I know Hackett appreciated the support of so many bloggers during the Special Election, I think what really blew his mind was how many individuals got involved in a race nobody thought was winnable. Because it wasn't about winning the election, it was about democracy and giving people a choice. That is the true power of the blogosphere, not raising money or attacking opponents, but helping people participate in politics.

So let's not bash people for reaching out online.

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Comments

42 Comments

Don't blame Brown
I think some people misunderestimate their actual clout and Brown gto suckered into buying a hell of a lot of blog ads.
by Parker 2005-10-24 10:05AM | 0 recs
It's an arms race
And like any arms race, there is a tendancy to overpurchase without serious or protracted consideration.

Of course, Hackett is seen as Blogman here forward.

So . . . not too surprisingly, the key to killing Blogman is to find Blog Kryptonite.

by jcjcjc 2005-10-24 06:58PM | 0 recs
Link not working
When I click the www.ohioforhackett.com link I get prompted for a password.
by pipe 2005-10-24 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Link not working
www.HackettForOhio.com
by blogswarm 2005-10-24 10:15AM | 0 recs
re
I agree Bob.  I haven't understood the criticism towards Sherrod Brown's blog outreach.  
by Ann Driscoll 2005-10-24 10:52AM | 0 recs
truly
the more the merrier as far as i'm concerned.
by annatopia 2005-10-24 11:17AM | 0 recs
Bob, I don't think you get it
the problem is not that politicians are reaching out to bloggers.  the problem is they are attempting to purchase bloggers.  that is a very different criticism, and completely valid.  

there's a lot of money floating around between ActBlue, Jerome, BlogAds, and Sherrod, a lot more to follow, and the clumsy manner in which these ads roll out, get changed, get changed again, link here, link there, disclaim here, not disclaim there, is a legitimate target for legitimate criticism.  

if i were you, as a Hackett supporter, i'd be damn pissed off that this medium appears up for sale to the highest bidder.  as an Ohio voter and current Sherrod supporter (emphsasis on "current" as this incompetent display of pure arrogance is really turning my stomach) i am embarrassed that this is how Sherrod decides to do business.  it is insulting, and is jeopardizing his support from at least one Ohio blogger.

by TimRusso 2005-10-24 11:34AM | 0 recs
full of shit, as usual
tim i won't troll rate you, but man, you make no sense here.

first, you erect a straw man by saying that jerome and markos are being bought.  um, let's see.  they are political consultants.  they get paid to advise campaigns.  sherrod brown hired jerome to do what he does best: work.  let me ask you this.  if you are an IT person, and someone comes along and says "hey man i'll pay you to keep my servers running" and you accept money, does that mean you are sold out to the company?  no, it makes you EMPLOYED. that is the same thing that's going on with jerome working for brown.  GMAFB.

second, ANYONE CAN BUY A BLOGAD ON THIS OR ANY OTHER LIBERAL SITE.  how dare you insinuate that jerome or anyone else is bought off because someone chose to buy an ad here?  using your logic, i must be bought and sold as well due to the sherrod brown ad running on my site.  that's just idiotic.  nobody owns me, or jerome, or anyone else.

by annatopia 2005-10-24 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
Speaking of coordination, I wonder if we can start a discussion with interested parties (since they seem to be here) about how that op-ed came to appear in the Dispatch today.

You have his attention...

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-10-24 12:55PM | 0 recs
it would be nice to know
it just sucks, because it seems like two good guys are already tearing each other down.  i wonder if it'll get so ugly that it'll damage whomever emerges from the primary.

look, they should just both have a nice sit down and work all this shit out.  agree to run clean campaigns.  agree to not frivolously attack each other.  agree to allow their quotes to be attributed to named parties in newspaper articles.

let's just not tear each other to shreds over this.  hackett and brown are good guys (although i'm partial to hackett at the moment) and i would hate to see either of them permanently damaged after the primary.

and yea, it would be nice to know who planted that crap about jerome and the bloggers.  anyone wanna fess up?

by annatopia 2005-10-24 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: it would be nice to know
It wasn't a campaign.

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-10-24 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: it would be nice to know
It's not looking good on that front.
by ignatzmouse 2005-10-24 01:05PM | 0 recs
Charge, Counter-Charge
Good link. The comments were also interesting as I saw a few familiar talking points and commenters.
by Curt Matlock 2005-10-24 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: it would be nice to know
Well, I still don't know what was even said.  This was the first I heard of anything.  And I refuse to get a subscription for the DISPATCH.

I do know there have been alot of articles floating around about this and I was surprised to see something even in the Cincinnati Post, before that was Mother Jones.  So maybe it's all just coming from that stuff.

If you want, this was the post article.
http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051021/NEWS01/510210329

by LindainCincinnati 2005-10-24 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
here's a thought....maybe michael meckler, the guy who wrote the dispatch article, actually reads blogs, including mine, yours, and everyone else's in ohio?  how about that?  coordination?  how about curiosity about the stink of horseshit?

and just to be clear, yeah....meckler called me, we talked, and he wrote a piece.  shocking.  oh, yeah, and mr. tagaris, how many conversations did you have with mr. meckler?  why do you think he didn't believe a word you said?

by TimRusso 2005-10-24 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
he called me too
by kydem 2005-10-24 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
See, now i feel left out - cos no one called me.
by Pounder 2005-10-24 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
sorry you feel that way.

I CAN'T EVEN READ THE DARN ARTICLE BECAUSE I'M NOT A SUBSCRIBER

by kydem 2005-10-24 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
excerpt here Cant do it all for copyright of course.
by Pounder 2005-10-24 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
thanks.
by kydem 2005-10-24 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
Can someone email me a copy of the article?  I don't want to pay 5 bucks to subscribe online to the dispatch.
by kydem 2005-10-24 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: full of shit, as usual
annatopia,

you seem to think jerome is just some guy getting a consulting contract.  he's a media outlet with editorial control, control over what 20,000 visitors a day see, influence over who they give money to, and influence over who they support.  he's not just selling ads, or consulting.  if he were ted turner, and all this shit were going out to CNN, you'd be having a conniption, and rightly so.

why don't you ask sherrod why he's paying jerome....i'm sure you won't get the answer you just created here.

by TimRusso 2005-10-24 01:22PM | 0 recs
GAFB
you assume that none of jerome's visitors have control over their own minds.  like we're all zombies just waiting for him to snap so we can jump.

get real.

by annatopia 2005-10-24 05:57PM | 0 recs
there is a lot of common ground, but
A lot of what you said is true.  Of course Rep Brown should be able to reach out to blogs as Paul Hackett does. But when you try to dominate and seize control, it no longer becomes open.  

The idea behind blogs was great, like you said.  But if you allow the manipulation of it, it is no longer the forum you talked about.

by LindainCincinnati 2005-10-24 11:55AM | 0 recs
linda
how is sherrod brown manipulating the landscape?  sherrod brown did an ad buy on the liberal blog advertising network.  jerome isn't running his ad for free.  

and hey, it's an open market!  paul hackett is welcome to buy ad space on the same network.  it's not manipulation; it's COMMERCE.

by annatopia 2005-10-24 12:51PM | 0 recs
we're talking blogs here
Take a step back.  Did you read the post?  So many people here like to put words in others mouth.  

We're talking BLOGS, a bottom up aproach that doesn't seem to be working that way.  When they are being manipulated by people with other agendas.

Heck Rep Brown can buy all the ads he wants.  Go for it.  Why would I care about someone wanting to advertise.  He can buy 10 ads and run it as a border.  I would just hope that wouldn't mean the operator of the blog (or the blog itself) had to ( or didn't) show a bias towards that paid advertiser.

by LindainCincinnati 2005-10-24 01:17PM | 0 recs
What's so "top-down" about it?
You [figuratively] keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.</inigomontoya>

Seriously, though, can you explain what's wrong with buying ads? If you, like so many others, have a gripe about the content of the ad, that's one thing. But then it's about content, not top-down versus bottom-up. Are any communications from a candidate ever "bottom-up?"

by Kagro X 2005-10-24 01:22PM | 0 recs
Why?
The true story is how this is shaping up between an politician trying to take a top-down, talk-at-you-with-ads approach to the blogosphere vs. an outsider who inspired netroots activists one at a time to have a vast bottom-up movement. That is the story that should be written.

Why is this the story that should be written? Since when are clickable, online, targeted ads not a legitimate means of communication? Does this mean we'll never see a Hackett ad online?

I think you're trying to shoehorn these ads into a construct that has buzzwords you know to be online shorthand, but that just doesn't really fit: top-down versus bottom-up.

It's a solid strategy, if a logically bankrupt one. That is, you know how people react when they're told that something is top-down (which is ironic, considering how top-down that model is), so you just say it is. But top-down has always referred to the way policy was made, not the way candidates chose to communicate. To be sure, there's good reason to want to encourage candidates to engage rather than merely advertise, but there's nothing inherently top-down about raising your visibility with ads. That's just the argument you make when you don't have the money for your own ads.

by Kagro X 2005-10-24 12:59PM | 0 recs
November 1st
On November 1st we are launching a single place for a citizen to go to where they can find all important information about their local representatives.  The reps and their offices will be able to login and answer any questions put to them directly.

Get rid of the middleman and have the campaigns deliver the information, why rely on some biased reporter or editor?

by goplies 2005-10-24 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: November 1st
thats an awesome idea.
by Pounder 2005-10-24 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: November 1st
Thanks Pounder.  We are halfway there and should make the deadline.
by goplies 2005-10-27 08:31AM | 0 recs
Blogs are nothing new
Blogs play by the same rules that the non-virtual world plays. That's the part that's missing. Outsiders looking in will expect bloggers, even the partisan ones, to not be acting as hired guns.  The value that they add or substract to your opinion will depend on it. Look at what people thought of Armstrong Williams after he turned out he was being paid by the White House. If they think that you are up for sell to the highest bidder, then what credibility you do have will be reduced. Think of the comparison to a lawyer. Lawyers are paid gun men so people have certain views about the arguments offered up by lawyers. People know that their arguments are vested in the interests of a particular party.  Here, Mydd and other sites have billed themselves as being about reform and improvement. That they are different from K Street. The other thing that they trade on, at least from what I have seen, is that they aren't subject to conflicts of interest that will prevent them from being the truth bearers even if it is from a partisan Democratic (or Republican) perspective). What you as blogs are trading on is that, while you maybe partisan,  people still expected opinion unfettered by other interests.  To the degree that people believe that you are not giving unfettered opinion,ie that you support candidate X because you believe in candidate X versus supporting candidate a) because you believe in candidate X or because you are paid by candidate X, is the degree to which conflicts of interests will hurt your reputations and the good will you have built up by people who have come to trust your opinion.

Finally, I see a lot of believe here that blogs are so new that they aren't subject to the same rules of pscyhology that are present in other parts of society. These rules of society, elsewhere, would say that if someone is being paid as an advocate people are naturally going to question whether or not the opinion of the hired gunman is as trust worthy as someone who is not? This is brought on I think because this is an online forum, and has the same smell of the dot com bubble of the late 90s. I was involved in the dot com bubble of the 90s. I won't go into too much details other than to caution you from thinking that you have come up with something for which the old rules don't apply. Views, even if people can't explain it elegantly, are still there with regard to any conflicts of interest you may have.

This doesn't mean advertising isn't allow. However, to the extent you have editorial control, you must realize if you are also being paid as consultants is the degree to which people question your editorials.

by bruh21 2005-10-24 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Editorials are nothing new
All editorial opinion should be questioned. I fail to see the difference between Jerome working as a political consultant and any other political consultant.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-10-24 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Editorials are nothing new
The difference is that they want to be treated differently. If they are seen as merely political consultants, they lose their following. If they are something more, then they have a conflict of interest. Rather than aknowlwedge the latter- the debate returns to how it is enough to simply tell everyone that they are working for candidate x. i am not sure in terms of the complications that can arise that it is enough. i suggested a chinese wall. if editor is going to be on brown's pay roll, then he can't or shouldn't post editorial commentatory for brown considering the impact of this endorsement on fundraising, volunteer efforts, etc. collectively as they grow blogs can be come king makers in some races. if they are being paid, that creates all kinds of issues. imagine if they had been paid by hackett in oh2 for example.
by bruh21 2005-10-24 10:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Editorials are nothing new
It seems a little odd for you to be telling someone what they can and can not write about on their personal website.
by DanielUA 2005-10-25 01:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Editorials are nothing new
It's only odd if blogs are divorced from the real world where people have to put limitations on themselves all the time to prevent conflicts of interests. Does Armstrong Williams ring a bell? If not, then go look him up. Explain to me the substantive difference between him and blogs that are being paid by candidates.
by bruh21 2005-10-25 08:46PM | 0 recs
Speaking of Paul Hackett...
I heard about this fundraiser in Los Angeles on Nov. 12th w/ Paul Hackett speaking.
Check out:  http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaID=97722
by RealPolitik 2005-10-24 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Speaking of Paul Hackett...
That is awesome!
by LindainCincinnati 2005-10-24 02:27PM | 0 recs
Red State
Online article.

His article links to the column but I don't have a subscription to read it.

by kydem 2005-10-24 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Red State
Did he identify himself with redstate or the Columbus Dispatch?

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-10-24 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Red State
Both actually.
by kydem 2005-10-24 04:48PM | 0 recs
Paul Hackett's Official Announcement today
The video of Paul Hackett's Announcement

Paul Hackett Formally
Announces Candidacy for US Senate in Ohio

Watch video here:
http://www.hackettforohio.com/2005/10/paul_hackett_an.php

by LindainCincinnati 2005-10-24 04:52PM | 0 recs

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