Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Talking Points Memo is archiving as many Sleazy McCain Robocalls and Mailers as it can find in a central location, organized State by State.
As I've mentioned before -- and Commenters in the Moot seem to feel the same -- the level of sleaze and rabble-rousing and so on feels unprecedented and a bit unsettling this time around.
I can't help but wonder whether what is really unprecedented here isn't so much the actual race-baiting xenophobic jingoistic lying sleaze but the fact that p2p has lowered the costs of mass-publishing mailers and robocalls so much that the seamy underbelly of American Presidential politicking has been exposed for all in all its vile glory. Macaca? Anyone?
It is well known that mass-mediated attention to violent crime can whomp up hysteria about crime even as crime rates are actually falling or that stories about spectacular plane crashes can radically skew one's assessment of the safety of airline travel as against travel by other means. Who knows how the rash of stories about bears loose in suburbia will play out in the public psyche over the long haul?
Anyway, it is a great thing that the Netroots are exposing all this lying sleaze and starting to impel broadcast media into taking these disgusting local campaigning tactics into account (and taking campaigns to task for them), but just how truly unprecedented do you really think this stuff is?
Could it be that the exposure of this stuff could paradoxically undermine the effectiveness of these tactics and so diminish the frequency of their use in all but the most desperate campaigns while at once yielding an impression through this very exposure that sleazy awful campaigning is increasing dramatically?