Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

The virtual beauty parlor and Mitt Romney
November 12, 2008, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I don’t say this often, but Eric Fehrnstrom has a point.

Romney’s chief spokesman/consigliere/flak-jacket/attack dog wrote a column for the Nov. 8 Boston Globe that explores the benefits and pitfalls of campaigning in the Internet age.

It’s a good thing, he says, when it comes to fundraising and organizing the groundtroops, which can now be done while wearing bunny slippers.

The bad news is that it is much easier for people to spread lies and post embarrasing youtube clips. In a rare moment of bipartisan civility, Fehrnstrom outlines how viral campaigns have hurt both Republican and Democratic candidates, from George Allen’s “macaca” comment to the misinformation about Obama being a Muslim.

His main point is that people need to treat what they read online in the same way as if some stranger handed them a homemade pamplet outside th Park Street T station. At least with traditional media, the says, there are editors (usually) double and triple-checking everything that gets printed/reported/broadcast. You can argue about the media having a bias, but there is a BIG difference from reporting something with a slant, and reporting something that is non-factual.

It’s interesting to note that it appears  to be the grown-ups that having the most trouble understanding this whole “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet” thing.  Today’s high school and college students have been taught that citing information gleaned from the Internet is as credible as citing information you heard in a barbarshop. And that’s really what the Internet, with all of its blogs and webpages is — one big hair salon. I mean, just because Marion says that her best friend’s daughter’s husband’s cousin heard that Father O’Malley likes to gamble, doesn’t mean it’s true.  

What really makes the column, however, are the very first comments posted afterwards:

1) I believe the information I read on the internet just as often as I believe anything printed in a US newspaper, especially if it originates from Boston, New York, Washington, or from Florida journalists.

2) Your “gatekeepers” were certainly able to prevent information about Barry being a marxist from the people. weren’t they?

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