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Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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November 18, 2003

Important if True: Online and Offline Meet Up to Change Politics

Ed Cone explains exactly why Howard Dean's "open style" of politics is a big deal--and a big story--whether he or not he wins. This will scramble the mind of the press if the press retains its master narrative: winning.

Ed Cone— journalist, weblogger, tech thinker, biz writer—has done what is so far the definitive piece on What’s Different About Dean and why it matters. It makes a powerful case that there is something out there… emergent:

Even if Dean fails to capture the Democratic nomination, he has made [internet] technology an integral factor in national campaigns for the foreseeable future. Not since the televised Nixon-Kennedy debates has there been a comparable shift in the art and science of running a campaign.

Take that, horse race. Writing in Ziff Davis’s Baseline magazine, Cone argues that Dean is a big deal whether he or not he prevails in the end. This scrambles the brains of the press in the degree that the press believes its own story— that winning the race is not only the point of a presidential campaign, but also the departure point for reporting on it, the base line for the political story, the thing that’s really real. Winning has for a long time been the “master narrative” of campaign journalism, (I wrote about it here) even though other stories are allowed in.

Without addressing them directly, Cone says: fellow journalists, the art and science of running a campaign are changing before our eyes. Whatever happens in the race, (which could go many ways) there’s the import of what Dean and Company are discovering about the Internet: now. They are showing us how tools developed online can generate action offline, and affect people’s lives— including the nation’s political life. “I’m obsessed with offline,” says Zephyr Teachout, the director of Internet organizing for the Howard Dean presidential campaign. (That’s a switch.) Here’s Cone:

The lessons of the Dean campaign do not just apply to politics. Teachout and her compatriots have laid bare the essential power of the Internet to marketers of all types, from clothing to industrial equipment to financial services.

Cone isn’t a recruit or supporter of Dean’s politically. But I think he is intellectually. He is fascinated by what’s happening, and tries to explain it in “what’s the fuss about” fashion, loosely joining the various pieces together—the Dean weblog, the meet-up method, the fundraising by Net, the local “cells,” the thinking at headquarters, and the difference it could all make. He leaves enough space to let you think it through yourself.

Cone is currently expanding his sense of community (and journalism) at his own site and in his work as a columnist for the Greensboro (NC) News & Record. Meanwhile, he writes about Dean expanding politics with tools and strategies that tap the power of “community,” which here simply means people doing it for themselves because they want to help Dean and participate.

With the Internet, an effective campaign creates a community that will on its own begin to market your product for you. Properly done, you won’t be able – or want — to control it.

One would not want to control it. IMPORTANT IF TRUE. Think what that does to one of the most reliable “laws” of presidential campaigns: that top down control of the message and the operation as a whole is essential, the way the game is played. Think how many news stories have been generated over the years by that thesis. Think of all the “disarray” stories when the operatives at the top lose control or fight over it. There’s a big narrative premise at stake:

The trick is to turn the buyers of a product, concept or candidate into evangelists, willing to take action on their own to spur demand. And the recruitment doesn’t have to cost much.

Willing to take action on their own. This only happens if you don’t control everything.

The payoff is a powerful multiplier effect that turns anyone into a potential campaign worker. It gives Dean a national network of troops on the ground, unpaid but on task. This is the great innovation of the Dean campaign: using the Internet to raise both support and funding, before rivals figure out how to do the same.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, read the whole thing and come back for some discussion….

Some discussion: Among his examples, Cone shows Dean supporters in North Carolina using meet-ups to draft handwritten letters they will send to undecided voters in Iowa. Maybe that means nothing to the final result. But it seems to me the Iowa Caucuses, which are one big meet-up, are a pretty good test.

Do powerful Internet tools shrewdly deployed result in turnout offline at a distributed caucus event? The test is not just for Dean. It’s also for the Cone thesis: that there has been a shift in the science and sensibility of campaigning for President. Either we will or we won’t see a different pattern emerging into its own. Either we will or will not observe a “community” dividend on the ground for Dean. I posed this to Cone after I read his article. He e-mailed back:

To the degree that local organizing capabilities matter in the caucus system, Iowa is a great test. But it’s also a limited one, because most states send voters to the polls – so in that sense, New Hampshire and other early states will be more relevant, because they will measure the ability of the Dean campaign to translate the preliminary real-world activities we know it can generate into the ultimate offline activity for any campaign – voting.

“None of this means Dean is going to win,” Cone says back at his weblog. “And none of it can make him win on its own — message, tone, and external factors are critical — but it’s a huge part of his success so far.” I agree with that note of caution. But I bet it won’t stop people from arguing against a claim he does not make: that the Internet campaign will certainly spell the difference next year.

Prepare for the “nothing really new here” articles to come. Prepare for savvy analysts in the press who will be out to de-excite. Prepare for a lot of knowing chuckles the first time the Dean campaign disagrees with the “community” and people get upset. (It will happen.) In general, the press is better at pattern repetition than pattern recognition. But who knows? We may see a split among journalists on the matter of the real story in 2004. Cone has his eye on developments after and in spheres far removed from electoral politics.

E.J. Dionne made a related observation this weekend on CNN’s the “Capital Gang.”

What’s striking me is how similar the Dean campaign is to the Goldwater campaign in the sense that Dean ends up speaking up for all these liberals who feel excluded, left out. The government’s in the hands of the other party. Just like conservatives did when Barry Goldwater ran for president. And he’s created this vast organization, just the way Goldwater did. The good news for Democrats is the Goldwater movement changed the country. The bad news for Democrats is that Barry Goldwater got clobbered in 1964.

Dean may lose, and yet change the Democrats, change the country. In that case, the demand on journalists would be to tell both stories. But they arise from different narratives of political life: community and connection vs. command and control. Ed Cone has written the primer for one. The other story journalists know cold.

For a bigger picture view, read this, from Ryan Lizza of the New Republic, alongside Cone’s exemplary work. Then put the two together. (Thanks to Daily Kos, who adds his own analysis.)

See Dave Winer’s Tips for Candidates re: Weblogs from September 2003

Dan Gilmour’s report from back in August: Dean Campaign’s Net Savvy Shows. See the comments section if you are really interested in the subject.

Posted by Jay Rosen at November 18, 2003 11:46 PM   Print


Jay: I posted some thoughts at my site; here's an except:

Ed Cone's piece seems to be missing one critical point: anything perceived good guy Howard Dean can do with technology can be replicated by his enemies ... The Web knows no politics, it just offers politicians another way to get people to the polls. All Dean's "he gets it!" cheerleaders are gonna have some crow to digest if somebody really repellant uses all these tools to get elected in the future. As a paid-up member of the International Liberal Media Conspiracy I'd prefer to a Dean to a Bush, naturally, but I can live with either of them. But I do sorta worry about who comes next, because the tools are there for any old crank to exploit (Osama and Saddam spring to mind).

Posted by: tom mangan at November 19, 2003 12:40 PM | Permalink

Tom: I think you need to remember that "all these tools" are simply that. Tools. Of course tools can be used for good or evil. It is what people SAY that is most important. These tools are simply making it easier to say things to more people in a more conversational manner.

Dean is doing a good job. Compare his blog with the Bush "blog." Same tools, different affect (and effect).

It is the story and the way it is told -- its voice -- that matter.

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 19, 2003 1:14 PM | Permalink

Jay: true, but a key chapter of the "Dean gets it" story is that he's all tech-savvy and somehow, by implication, this makes him a better candidate. Tech-savvy can have all sorts of consequences depending on who's the hammer and who's the nail ... so maybe there's grounds for a bit of skepticism on the high-tech angle of his campaign. Remember what happened to Netscape ... the pioneer made all the early investors rich, but the company still got destroyed by a more powerful force.

Posted by: tom at November 19, 2003 3:40 PM | Permalink

Tom: "Dean's 'he gets it!' cheerleaders..." I do like that. Touche. A phrase good for what I'm sure will be many moments of excess or dim-witted enthusiasm for things Dean. You will have opportunities for bubble popping because there are bound to be pretensions floating around when people intellectualize their hope. I do think you have to start from there-- people have hopes for politics, (not for Doctor Dean as dream candidate) that seem to spring from what Dean is doing, and who he is attracting. I tried to describe this as journalist Ed Cone being "for" Dean intellectually-- not a sin at all, in my view. But neither is it the common journalistic stance.

Now you wish to warn us that the same exciting tools not only could be used for ill, (a banal point, though true) but that it is easy to imagine these particular tools "falling into the wrong hands," so to speak. Or just being downloaded by Osama's men. You are right: the sinister version of meet up is ridiculously easy to imagine. Picture Fascism with it. Technology cuts both ways, is the way people normally put this, yes?

But does it follow that writers, observers and political people who cheered Dean's use of new Internet tools and Net-fed forms of community in 2003 are going to have to "digest some crow"--face up to their foolish oversights and wrong projections--if Osama turns yet another Western technology against the West? I don't see how, Tom.

Take early adopters of the cell phone who said, "this is going to transform telecommunications and free people from..." Should they now eat crow because cell phones are used by all criminal gangs world wide? Are cell phones--another way to connect people whereever they are--fundamentally different from what Cone is talking about? I'd have to see the argument for why.

How about journalists who said after the Gulf War that, come the next war, satellite phones are going to make confining the press in Pentagon space impossible (I was there at post-war conferences in 1992 where this was quite accurately assessed.) Should we prepare their crow because now Al Queda uses satellite phones too? Don't see it.

It seems to me that this kind of knowledge--"wow, this could become a nightmare if the people who want to destroy us get hold and use it to..."--is the very condition we live in now. And we are doomed to be aware of it as we go forward into freedom.

Every increase from now on in communicative capacity, competence, autonomy, convenience, privacy, control, efficiency--and almost every good use we find for these increases--is going to possibly benefit Al Queda and like networks. Or already is. Our tools are their tools, so our defense cannot be based on that. What Net person, what citizen, what journalist, can afford to ignore this?

Dean "he gets it!" cheerleaders (I do love that!) are responsible for thinking through the consequences, if what they hail as emergent grows ever larger and succeeds in changing the rules. That is a fair demand. Perhaps there should be more of that reflection, beginning now. "Start up the nightmare machine, you're gonna need it later." I'm not being funny; and it isn't funny.

But surely step one in that act of civil imagination, (and that's what it is) is to take the various Dean "discoveries" seriously, pour attention into understanding them, and look patiently at what is actually there that is, yes, different and potent. And it would be equally good to apprehend the sleeping hopes that predated the tools and trends that Ed Cone describes as things Dean.

His is a great act of reporting because we can have this debate.... now.

See Tom Mangan's post on the matter:

Posted by: Jay Rosen at November 19, 2003 3:59 PM | Permalink

of course others can and will use the technology.

beyond being the first to do it, i make no special claims for dean in that regard -- except for his willingness to cede some control to the grassroots, which may be the X factor in really making this technology work to capacity, and which other candidates may not be able to do.

and it's important to note, as i have at my blog, that all the tech and all the control-giving-upness in the world won't elect, say, moseley braun.

i make no judgement on the "goodness" of dean. i looked at his success as measured in polling, volunteers, and dollars, and wrote a technology and strategy case study about it.

my guess is that bush will win the election. but as jay pointed out, that's not the only important story.

Posted by: ed cone at November 19, 2003 6:08 PM | Permalink

Speaking as just one techno-weenie who is inclined toward Dean (though not committed), the exhilerating thing about the "he gets it" phenomenon is NOT that Dean actually gets it, or understands the technology or any of that.

It's that Dean and his staff, are self-confident enough to NOT be in control, to start an experiment and let it go. Implicitly, there's a faith that uncontrolled citizen involvement in the process is, in itself, A Good Thing.

This, I believe, is the truly radical notion of Dean's blog, Meetup, etc. No other candidate "gets it" to that degree. The others, as best I can see, follow the tired "consumer" paradigm that sees citizens as consumers and politics as "products" for consumption.

Posted by: Roger Karraker at November 19, 2003 8:55 PM | Permalink

Where's Jeff Jarvis when we need him? He could tell us politics is a conversation.

The experiment should be fun to watch, for sure. What it reminds me of most is the John Doe Clubs from the movie "Meet John Doe." It certainly celebrates the "people are inherently good and smart" philosophy, vs. the "people are sinful and must be controlled" philosophy.

Posted by: tom at November 19, 2003 9:18 PM | Permalink

and it's important to note, as i have at my blog, that all the tech and all the control-giving-upness in the world won't elect, say, moseley braun.

Why not?

Posted by: MattS at November 20, 2003 10:03 AM | Permalink

I asked Ed the same thing in the comments at my blog. Here's his reply:

i don't mean to pick on ms. moseley braun, i also used kucinich as an example at my blog -- the point being that a candidate who lacks the ability to fire up a broad swath of the electorate for reasons of message, presentation, etc., will not be transformed by technology into a contender. you gotta have game in the first place. dean has the anti-war message, he's clearly bright and speaking his mind, he's attractive at this moment to many people...and that still might not get him elected -- the tech is a way of maximizing potential, not inventing it.

Posted by: tom mangan at November 20, 2003 10:11 AM | Permalink

Traditional means, top-down control with tv ads, are battles of heavy artillery. From the stands, it looks like the insiders are using the same old methods that split the ticket and lost the last election.
My impression from general coverage on tv and the political mailers I get is that the main party is doing more than usual the number of mailers, and that individual candidates are practically hysterical, and making attempts at the personal touch, but it doesn't convince me.
I know it's way early, but I have no sense of any *personal* efforts from state campaigns. I have no sense yet of any large, serious, in-person efforts, and normally that shows up in this state capital town as local coverage.
Though it gets downplayed heavily in tv coverage, I still notice there's antiwar protests, environmental protests, marches for prayer in schools, protests for and against removal of the rock graven with the Ten Commandments from public space, all kinds of civil protest going on. These are visibly and seriously alienated voters willing to work actively and spend money for what they believe in. That's why I think I'd notice if somebody was making serious organization meetings on a large enough scale.

It looks rather like traditional campaigners giving a good imitation of goldbrickers who aren't going to kill themselves. That's either giving up the campaign, or else gambling on Bush being such a fool that he gets caught in outrageous lies and the press will finally come to their rescue, and maybe even impeachment will just happen on a wave of public outrage.
Not good strategy, to expect your enemy to goof.
Besides, the Shrubs have goofed up, as inevitably anyone in office will, and it doesn't seem to matter. Scandals of enormous dimensions and various kinds don't seem to have provoked much visible public activity.
That mystery keeps being explained in the press by the unified Republican front across the Senate, House, and White House. Oh yes, we know it takes a lot to crack that party discipline. And there's always the patriotic duty to salute during a war and stop asking those pesky questions while the grownups decide who to bomb out of existence.
But to that degree? Oh, gee, some committee meetings, barely covered at all. Out here in voterland, we wonder why we don't see more coverage of arguments. Why don't we see the mainstream sources showing Democrats up there on the Hill with hearings? If it'd been any other president, I think there'd be impeachment proceedings long since. Why not? Is Bush that good at politics inside the Beltway? One general retired from command of Joint Chiefs commented that, far from his public reputation, Bush is a very sharp boy. The subtext there is that Bush misled the press by playing stupid good ole boy.
Who was fooled, the general or the press?
In questions of serious and impartial character analysis, maybe the press should be concerned about that one.
Many of the alienated voters (such as folks that Gore lost to Nader's group) now look suspiciously at all the major news media as collaborators with Republican spin doctors. How much does Rupert Murdock's editorial politics rule the entire press corps?
That question should matter to folks who care about the quality of news coverage.
Another Press-Think post discussed the dangers implicit in how campaigns chase a narrowing percentage of voters by defining undecided voters with increasing precision. Some of those voters will be folks who always depend on word-of-mouth, which is why Dean's campaign could matter a lot, and yet somehow the insiders have already decided it won't work and they won't use it.
Then there's the split-ticket voters who went to other parties last time. They don't like any of the traditional messages to begin with, so it's no use blowing tv funds on them. And maybe they should pursue outraged strays from the other side--but reaching those folks is trying to convince hostile voters to revolt against a second term President in an essentially two-front war.
In either of those cases, they are not going to be trusting folks who believe your tv ads easily, and whether you pull more from Nader's ranks or from Bush's tranditional ranks. In both cases you're trying to come across as sincere to folks who are very suspiscious, very disillusioned, actively looking for problems with each candidate, *not* looking for a cozy place to cuddle up.
That's why traditional means as a tank-to-tank battle looks absurd to me. Bush has the bully pulpit and advance money and very centralized control over message. Bush's campaign is a fortress that's been built up over two generations. The impression out here in consumerland is that these guys are very big on authority and orderly hierarchy getting things done in a planned and organized manner, which is very attractive to folks frightened of terrorism and civil unrest and long-haired nuts. As far as I'm aware, the same senior warriors who fought for Bush SR are watching over the ramparts, and they remember what mistakes they made back when they lost to the guys who ran Clinton. That embarrassing memo about gerrymandering voting districts to exclude black voters and evaporate seats completely from under Democrats shows exactly how much they'd love to ram a second term down the throats of their traditional opponents.

When confronted with an impossible threat like that, switch the battle to different technology, different ground, or a different purpose.
Fast-moving light horsemen against heavy plate armored knights, for example. Archers against French knights. Multitudes of student protesters against Chinese Army tanks. Gandhi's marchers against Britsh Raj troops. Vietnam returning to the guerillas. Martin Luther King's marches.
That takes recruitment on an unprecedented scale, which means commitment, involvement and the personal appeal from a huge front of volunteers: believers.
The Democrats used to know this.
But htey also know that sometimes it doesn't work. If you don't get enough believers, the tanks will rule the world.
And it really helps if the believers have *some* heavy artillery of their own in place.
It sounds to me like a unified campaign using both approaches are the only thing that might work. But can you see giant egos giving ground in time to craft a unified campaign?
Well, what do we hear so far?
Kill the messenger.
I can see the establishment Democrats refusing to admit it, I can see them refusing to acknowledge that a campaign with so many Democracts tearing each other to bits in the primaries will only add more fuel to Bush's monolithic attacks, and claiming that we shouldn't let all the campaign ants say whatever they like, we should keep top-down control over the message, and there's always plenty of political ideas out there, we don't have the time or money to pay attention to a tenth of the nonsense that people come up with.

And of course blogger bubble-up-ideas model has a lot of promise for bringing up new political techniques. It just seems odd to me that they wouldn't want to keep an eye on it, swing by to see what they're coming up with, drop in for a chat to keep the lines of communication open for later, just in case.
That makes we wonder what kind of hostility, what kind of personal history, is buried back there in relationships among particular people in all these campaigns. Why were the Gore people ousted, for instance? Why would the Clinton folks cut off ties so severely?
Maybe that's just my political ignorance showing.
But I bet there's plenty of other uninformed and puzzled voters out there.

Posted by: Heather at November 22, 2003 8:43 PM | Permalink

Heather you are an original. And representative. You are what weblogging is about. Keep sending those reports from "out here in voterland."

Posted by: Jay Rosen at November 23, 2003 12:57 AM | Permalink

From the Intro