Tony Blair’s outgoing chief strategist on blogs:
What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.
Because the major corporate-owned media isn’t doing their jobs – evidently in the UK as well where the state funds the BBC. Regardless of your political affiliation, I know of no one that thinks they are getting the full story from their domestic major mass media (compare CNN during the morning versus their 11:30 am switchover to CNN International, compare Newsweek’s cover inside the US versus their international edition). In a democracy, instant access to transparency and data is crucial – it is assumed, implied and inferred. That is why the airwaves remain publicly owned (but leased to private companies), that is why magazines have special postage, that is why net neutrality is crucial. When the mass media doesn’t do their jobs, the bloggers (and other citizen journalists) step up to the plate to fill in the gaps or gaping holes.
The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.
Translation: People are just too stupid to realize that they can’t have everything they want.
Corollary: No one wants to tell voters that.
Tertiary: Politicans would rather be re-elected than create long-lasting change rooted in truth and policy.
At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had.
Because politics is now a career, not a call to service. Politicians used to be citizens, firmly rooted in a work-a-day mentality and connected to their communities. Now we have the ‘Beltway’ and an entire industry and finance policy that ensures that a politicans biggest job is simply to raise money for the next election.
He challenged the online community to provide more opportunities for "people to try to understand the real trade-offs that politicians face and the real dilemmas that citizens face".
Like starting their own blogs?
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