New Media Power: Verifiable Content Rules

HughHewitt offers timely perspective on the rising power of the new media and the decline of the old:
I asked Wallace if Rush Limbaugh's deep dislike for McCain would be a problem for the Senator, and Wallace laughed off the idea of Rush being a problem for McCain dismissively.

I disagreed with Wallace then as did many e-mailers that quickly weighed in. My guess is that television bigs still don't understand the sort of awesome focus and political muscle that Rush and to lesser extents other talkers bring to elections, especially with the new power of the blogs adding to, providing ammunition for, and refining that mass market of talk radio. McCain, Rudy Guiliani, Senator Bill Frist etc all have to develop a new media strategy now, one that recognizes the relationships with Sunday morning anchors and shows does indeed matter, but perhaps not nearly as much as the relationship with Rush, Hannity, and other talkers as well as Powerline, Instapundit, The Corner's mob and Geraghty, LGF, INDCJournal etc. The Democratic primaries of '04 were almost indifferent to new media because new media doesn't connect with those voters on anywhere near the same scale as it does with center-right electorate. The would-be presidents ought to be quizzing the newly elected senators about new media, as well as everyone who managed the process at Bush-Cheney '04. The serious '08 players, for example, should be courting Patrick Ruffini the way Notre Dame is hunting for a head coach. [Aside: Other candidates/consultants and news organizations ought to be trying to tie up the blogging talent of Ed Morrisey, Matt Margolis, any of the RedState gents, Wizbang boys, Polipundit people or Slantpoint. Some bloggers are clearly not for hire, but others might be, and it is a skills set crucial for politics on a going forward basis.]

And John McCain ought to have Rush over for a dinner or two. Chris Wallace may not know it, but a whole lot of Iowa and New Hampshire voters turn into Rush every day, and that's a feud everyone would be better off seeing end.

This has nothing to do with whether you like--or even respect--Rush. Nor does this have anything to do with your political orientation. The tectonic shift in the power structure that determines the sources of "news" impacts everyone. While this transition is most evident in the political sphere, other domains such as product marketing are impacted, too.

The impact of "new media" isn't simply a numbers game in the sense that the perspective with the greatest number of supporting blogs, websites, email lists, etc. , prevails. Through the 2004 presidential election, a greater number of new media resources were advocating Kerry than Bush. The difference is that the new media supporting the conservative perspective generally, and Bush specifically, was simply more effective at impacting the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of the voting population.

Why are the new media more powerful? I believe it is because the news they report is "open source." Once a blogger posts a news item, it is immediately vetted by the readers. If the post is inaccurate, readers will point out the inaccuracy. A new media source that consistently produces news that doesn't survive the vetting process will lose readers. The main stream broadcast media has the unfettered ability to distribute as news whatever they choose without such vetting. The result? New media, like open source software, affords a more stable and reliable information source.

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