Thursday, November 29, 2007


Impressive Political use of Internet by US Democrats

In 2004 I was so incensed by the thought of George Bush returning to the White House that I logged onto a Democrat site and paid in $100 to Kerry's campaign fund. I'm not sure if it was legal for the party to accept it but they had no way of knowing I live in Northwest UK rather than Northwest USA. Well, my hundred bucks were wasted of course, but worse than that has been the constant stream of emails from Democrat HQ, urging me to deploy more dollars their way as well as banging the party drum. These have all been vaguely irritating apart from this morning's offering which is of a different and original character, revealing how fundamentally the web is infiltrating into US political processes.

The communication I received is basically a series of videos of Republican candidates quarrelling with each other before, I guess, invited, partisan audiences. So we see, for example, Rudi Giuliani accusing a fellow candidate of hiring illegal immigrant labour. It seems Democrat 'trackers' are secretly filming such events by the score and then uploading them onto the web so that the juicy bits can be used to discredit them out of their own mouths. This is part of the text I received from Mike Gehrke, the party's Research Director:

As soon as a tracker leaves an event in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or wherever they're taping a Republican candidate, they'll head to a computer and upload it directly to a special section of called FlipperTV. That means you'll have a chance to go through the latest video the same time we do.

Nobody has ever done anything quite like this before, but with the Internet giving ordinary Americans like you access to the tools you need to change an election with the click of a mouse, we need to make sure you have everything you need to do just that. The video is yours -- you can just let us know what you find, or you can take it, re-mix it, add music, and make your very own ad out of it. It's up to you.

If you are interested enough to sample what is on offer take a look here and click on the candidate's head you prefer. Then the (supposedly) incriminating footage will run for you. It certainly is an new departure and, in the usual manner of things, will probably start to make an appearance on this side of the Atlantic any time soon.

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