Here's a quote from Althouse relevant to my post on this topic:
"We'll see how it works out. What was a campaign becomes a big propaganda machine. What proportion of the 13 million want to be on the receiving end of that? And as for new media, how many of us new media outlets will passively pass along the talking points? My idea of new media is that we take the raw material and do something with it. It needs to get out of the control of the one who's sent out the original message. You can distribute your propaganda, but you can't organize it. You can't organize us. The internet is self-organizing, and we will see how it organizes itself. It can't be according to the will of a President."
If you took the trouble during the Democratic primary to scan the readers’ comments on web sites such as Huffington Post and the Daily Kos, you had to be frightened by the unrelenting vulgar sexist and misogynist assaults by Obama supporters directed at Hillary Clinton.
Ever since the debate between then Senators Clinton and Obama hosted by ABC last April, I’ve found the power of Obama’s online shock troops troublesome. Described as mainly youthful, unemployed tech savvy males on the far left of the political spectrum, this demographic commanded an inordinate amount of power.
In the aftermath of the above debate, I posted at Katalusis:
“And heaven help the TV pundit who challenges Obama. It was common practice during the primary for debate moderators to ask Hillary Clinton tough questions while going easy on Obama. That changed on April 16, 2008 when ABC hosted the Philadelphia face off between the two remaining Democratic candidates. Moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos asked Obama several uncomfortable questions, which quickly put him on the defensive. By Friday morning, more than 19,800 comments were posted on ABC News' Web site, the tone overwhelmingly negative.”
ABC soon capitulated and issued an apology for having put the One on the spot.
Therein lies the danger: the possibility of the Obama camp continuing to mobilize its hordes of online minions to outflank the media in winning support for the new president’s programs.
Rutenberg and Nagourney in an article published yesterday at the NY Times wrote:
“WASHINGTON — Lyle McIntosh gave everything he could to Barack Obama’s Iowa campaign. He helped oversee an army that knocked on doors, distributed fliers and held neighborhood meetings to rally support for Mr. Obama, all the while juggling the demands of his soybean and corn farm.
“Asked last week if he and others like him were ready to go all-out again, this time to help President Obama push his White House agenda, Mr. McIntosh paused.
‘“It’s almost like a football season or a basketball season — you go as hard as you can and then you’ve got to take a breather between the seasons,” he said, noting he found it hard to go full-bore during the general election.
“Mr. McIntosh’s uncertainty suggests just one of the many obstacles the White House faces as it tries to accomplish what aides say is one of their most important goals: transforming the YouTubing-Facebooking-texting-Twittering grass-roots organization that put Mr. Obama in the White House into an instrument of government. That is something that Mr. Obama, who began his career as a community organizer, told aides was a top priority, even before he was elected.
“His aides — including his campaign manager — have created a group, Organizing for America, to redirect the campaign machinery in the service of broad changes in health care and environmental and fiscal policy. They envision an army of supporters talking, sending e-mail and texting to friends and neighbors as they try to mold public opinion.
“The organization will be housed in the Democratic National Committee, rather than at the White House. But the idea behind it — that the traditional ways of communicating with and motivating voters are giving way to new channels built around social networking — is also very evident in the White House’s media strategy.
“Like George W. Bush before him, Mr. Obama is trying to bypass the mainstream news media and take messages straight to the public."
Read more of this disturbing development here.