Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New deal

The impact of the Internet is profound in so many ways, but the effect on politics and elections is still unfolding. What (if anything) will happen to voter turnout -- in terms of how many and who?

In the September 11, 2008 Forbes, Peter Huber writes "Cronkite vs. the Web ... The real genius of the Web is that it lets people disconnect. That's why it has obliterated the old media."

Huber cites the well known remark by LBJ at the time of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." There will never be another Cronkite because the one large communications net is gone and there are now many smaller ones.

Smashing the gatekeepers, as evoked by Apple 1984, is well known, but the new conception of networks and the effect on elections and politics is fascinating to contemplate.

David Remnick writes about Stalin's use of broadcast radio in the USSR days ("Letter from Moscow: Echo in the Dark ... A radio station strives to keep the airwaves free." in this week's New Yorker)and. He notes that when Hitler visited Ukraine during the German occupation, he envied what Stalin had accomplished in radio broadcasting. All (legal) USSR radios were locked to just one station. Guess which one.