Yay, Internet!Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Sure, maybe the Internet has made us all more informed voters in a Democracy. Or maybe it’s become one giant braying echo chamber that amplifies exactly what you want to hear, from both the candidates you support and the candidates you don’t.
But this year, many candidates have developed a phobia of the Internet, and their reactions have made the democratic process less open and informed. They shy away from debates (we’re all waiting, Andrew Cuomo) and national television interviews because a single, tiny mistake could be disseminated and amplified by the Internet for weeks. They eschew town halls and public events because “trackers” from their opponents’ campaigns record every public utterance in the hopes of capturing another Macaca moment.
This is bad news for politicians on both sides of the aisle. Politico notes (via nymag.com) that “With a month left until the midterm elections, there is something noticeably absent from some key statewide races: the candidates.” Politico goes on to say that Republican Senate candidates Ken Buck, Rand Paul, and Christine O’Donnell have avoided public events recently, with candidates acting “out of fear of a gotcha moment that will come back to haunt them.” Upstate here, the Times Union noted that incumbent Assemblyman Tim Gordon (an Independent who caucuses with Democrats) has been hounded by a video tracker from his opponent’s camp.
And of course, with the antics of Carl Paladino, who would want to appear on video these days?
Despite some protestations against the devil mainstream media, who needs the media if you can send a staffer out with a video camera and upload whatever gaffe you find and post it on your YouTube channel?
In a few years (maybe even by the end of this election year), we’ll only hear from candidates via Twitter/Facebook, perhaps on sanctioned media stations (Fox News for the right, though even that may not be sanctioned enough for some righties; see Bill O’Reilly vs. Carl Paladino), and at candidate “town hall” events with pre-screened audience members.
Either that, or nobody is going to give a shit about what these candidate says (I mean, even less than they give a shit now).