Yesterday on the drive home I heard Kos on the Majority Report claim that the New York Times had "six or seven" reporters at the Yearly Kos convention. While this certainly seems like journalistic overkill, let it not be said that they missed the big stories at the convention. Like this one:
Could a 15-Year-Old With a Laptop Be the New Campaign Media Guru?
Daily Kos's convention — the in-person gathering of the nation's most-read online political blog — was practically carpeted with presidential candidates. But perhaps the most notable presentation came from Ava Lowery, a 15-year-old from rural Alabama, whose homemade video was shown at the convention on jumbo television screens.
Ms. Lowery's video, set to the Queen song "We Will Rock You," contrasted the "liars" and "leakers" in the Bush administration with "those of us who choose to stand up for truth and justice." Her handiwork, which can be seen at Youtube.com (Ava Lowery's video), is a bit over the top. But it shows that a 15-year-old with video software and Internet access can now create and disseminate a professional-quality political ad.
Yes, it's a cute little ad for the liberal blogs, and yes, it's more than a little over the top. But if it had been done by a 25-year-old would anybody have paid attention? No, so the girl's 15-year-old age is the sole reason this caught on.
The Times then descends laughably into blather:
For the conventioneers, there was no question that Internet-powered politics would do as much — or more — for the left as talk radio did for the right. There are some cultural reasons why Democrats may be more attracted to the Internet. Democrats, as a group, may have warmer feelings about science and technology, or perhaps they are attracted to the decentralized, anti-authoritarian nature of blogs and e-mail (the exact opposite of a show like Rush Limbaugh's, where the host speaks and the "dittoheads" take it all in).
Online fund-raising also makes it easier and cheaper for Democrats to harvest contributions from individuals, a boon for a party that lags in raising money from traditional sources. And with Democrats often significantly outspent on television advertising, low-cost, innovative Internet advertising holds considerable promise. "The best campaigns are going to be the ones that let their supporters do a lot of their advertising for them," predicts Nicholas Reville, co-director of the Participatory Culture Foundation. Video blogs, or vlogs, could help counterbalance talk radio. One day, there could be a Daily Kos television station staffed by volunteer bloggers and sent out over the Internet as streaming video, going up against Fox News.
On Election Day 2008, voters could get video clips on their laptops and cellphones from Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen or the Dixie Chicks — targeted by geography or demographics — urging them to vote, and telling them where to do it.
Oh, man, how many fish in that barrel? First of all, there are already Daily Kos television stations going up against Fox News; they're called CNN and MSNBC. Second, the rock stars already tried to get their fans to vote; it was called Vote or Die in 2004 and as I recall, it died.
Third, there's no real discussion of the downside of the netkooks. Indeed, the notion seems to be that the kooks could help the party:
More input from the "net roots" — the Internet version of grass roots — may help the Democratic leadership avoid some bad decisions.
Or, of course, it could cause the Democratic leadership to make some bad decisions (like hiring Howard Dean as their chairman).