Jun 7, 2008

Some Lessons here For New Zealand Politicians

Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle has a look at how new media, particularly You Tube, the web and blogs affected the Clinton campaign.

What hurt Clinton most, political analysts say, is that she couldn't consistently use the newfound ubiquity of video to soften her image with voters. Or, as George Washington University Professor and new-media analyst Michael Cornfeld said, "It's like the Clintons, both of them, had sort of a 'Sunset Boulevard' thing going on. They were silent screen stars who couldn't make the transition to talkies."
Conquering video in the digital age has less to do with being telegenic or smart, as both Clintons are. Being a politician in the YouTube era means being comfortable with giving up control of your message and realizing that everything you say or do can be uploaded within minutes for the whole world to see - and then mashed up into something new.
Video is the media currency of the millions of young Americans who voted in the primary season this year, many for the first time. Stories told through video percolated to traditional media from blogs and online advocacy sites, from the tirades of Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the off-script comments of Bill Clinton.


It's not like Obama didn't have his YouTube nightmares - the nation surely has not seen the last of his former pastor. But at the height of the Wright controversy, Obama delivered a long, nuanced speech about race in America. Within a week, nearly 4 million people had watched in on YouTube, and soon the heat on the story died down.
"Even (former GOP presidential candidate and Mormon) Mitt Romney gave a speech on religion, even though it may not have been as good," Cornfeld said. "But Hillary didn't try to give that kind of speech about what it meant to be a woman in this race. Two kinds of people needed to hear that speech: men and women. She never really took control of that topic."