Anywhere News, No Boundaries

Mon, Jun 9, 2020

Blogging, Social Media

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Like so many others who were working in the Washington D.C. political scene in the nineties, I had heard about the President’s “intern problem” long before the mainstream media reported on it. Word of mouth in the political circles of D.C. is a powerful force.

What happened next caught most of us by surprise, though. An online publication broke the story while the major media outlets waited for their legal teams to give them permission to print or broadcast the story. The relationship between politicians, journalists and their constituencies was forever changed.

Fast forward a decade and the Drudge Report continues to be a force by charting its own course. This recent report in Politico demonstrates how Matt Drudge and the gang don’t plan to fit into any preconceived notions of the online publication being part of an ongoing Republican strategy.

‘Drudge Report keeps campaigns guessing,’ by Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith: ‘ ‘It’s clear to us that Barack Obama has won the Drudge Primary, and it’s one of the most important primaries in this process,’ conceded a senior Clinton aide … Explanations vary for Drudge’s apparent embrace of Obama and coolness to McCain … ‘He’s interested in what brings people to the site – and Obama is great box office,’ said Jim Dyke, the communications director for the Republican National Committee in 2004. … ‘It’s become sort of an international clearing ground of news - not just American news, not just British news, not just European news - anywhere news,’ [Matt Drudge told Britain's Sky News last year]. ‘This to me is the future, no boundaries.’ ‘

When Jim Dyke refers to “no boundaries,” that also applies to left leaning blogs. The Huffington Post clearly leans left but that doesn’t stop them from breaking news that is potentially damaging to Democrats. HuffPo has shown that its main loyalty is to increasing readership and, consequently, it has had a major impact on the Presidential race at least a couple of times. Blogger Mayhill Fowler, among others, continues to scoop traditional media with a new form of stealth “un-journalism.”

The following is from the Washington Post article Amateur Campaign Blogger Scoops the Pros on her anonymous interview with former President Bill Clinton ‘…in the crush of the crowd in South Dakota last Monday, when she raised the topic of “that hatchet job” on him in Vanity Fair, the former president called the article’s author “slimy,” “sleazy” and a “scumbag,” tightly gripping Fowler’s hand the whole time. “I’m sure he had no idea who I was,” the 61-year-old Tennessee native says.

He quickly found out. Fowler is a Huffington Post blogger whose audiotape of the exchange exploded across the media landscape, prompting Clinton to apologize for his language. And the episode came just two months after Fowler rocked Barack Obama’s campaign by reporting his comments at a closed fundraiser that “bitter” small-town Americans “cling to guns or religion.”

Whether we agree with the techniques being utilized or directions being taken by Drudge and Huffington - neither being beholden to traditional rules and customs of political journalism - we have to admit their very real impact on the process. As those of us who study “social media” can almost uniformly attest, it really pays to be transparent and authentic at all times. And if you’re famous already - hello, Mr. Clinton - you really have no choice but to assume that you are always on the record.

~Mike Chapman

This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 152 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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  1. Goodness Gracious, Great Blogs of Fire! » The Buzz Bin Says:

    [...] you curious about social media’s role in politics and campaigning? Take a look at Mike Chapman’s post on Everydotconnects. This is a great view into how public [...]

  2. Marketing & PR News & Ideas, June 13 2008 Says:

    [...]  Anywhere, News, No Boundaries - In a post on the Every Dot Connects blog, Mike Chapman talks about the journalistic barriers broken by online publications like the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post. Aaron Brazell  of Technosailor talks about the surge in online activism and political blogging. [...]