The Morning After

(cross-posted from making MediaCommons)

No doubt like many of you, I spent much of my evening last night glued to my television set, flipping between CNN and the networks, trying to keep apprised of developments in the election as best I could. I also kept my laptop nearby, in order to keep an eye my favorite political media blogs (such as Crooks and Liars), in order to get a sense not just of their reaction to the events, but of their reaction to the coverage of the events.

I’m a bit dazed by it all as yet, and what thoughts I have are obviously pretty unprocessed. But I’m interested this morning in the impact that the internet has clearly had on the outcome of this election. This is nothing terrifically new; the last few election cycles have all been affected by the presence of the blogosphere. What’s new, for me, is the circulation and discussion of political ads via the network. Ads that were once tied to local or regional television markets — unless something went very wrong, and they got picked up by the network news departments — have suddenly become visible across the country, via YouTube and other video-sharing systems. Of the ten best political ads of this season (according to Salon’s Video Dog), most, like Michael J. Fox’s ad for Missouri senator-elect Claire McCaskill, which took top honors, came to the attention of a much wider audience through their wide online distribution and discussion.

One of the truisms of recent political life has held that “all politics are local”; I’ve got to wonder whether this will continue to be so in an age in which media products are so widely dispersed — and, even more, in an age in which those who consume such products are able to respond.

2 responses to “The Morning After”

  1. I was just thinking that about local politics. Now that you can easily find out about any candidate anywhere, people know about other elections and other issues. I wonder how that might effect things in the future.

  2. I’d say this year’s election was successfully nationalized. Exit polls had voters caring more about national issues 50some to local issues 30some of the time. Plus, sites like ActBlue made it extremely easy for doners to find targeted races across the country and contribute to them, so that congressional races which ordinarily never would have garnered any attention, let alone money, got thousands of dollars from every posting about the race on Daily Kos. YouTube and the ads were definitely important (Macaca!), but I think that the blogosphere’s fundraising potential truly came into its own this cycle, and made a HUGE difference.

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