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Daily Digest: A Most Sobering Promise

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 31 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Making Sense of MoveOn: It's all about the members, says former MoveOn advocacy director Ben Brandzel, in response to the criticism of that organization we wrote about yesterday. The organization, says Ben, is focused on national issues and derives direction from the top, but that doesn't mean that it's some sort of hierarchical Beltway beast. The thing is that, by reputation, MoveOn sorta fits into the liberal pantheon as a grassroots member-driven organization, an extension of the New Left movement rooted in the '60s. But the group seems to function much more like a hybrid of a decentralized movement powered by the 'net and a traditional advocacy org. It's a great on-going discussion though, and one that, we should probably note, was sparked by recent Nation cover story by Chris Hayes called "MoveOn at 10." #

  • Weaning Young Ones from the Bottle: One thing MoveOn does certainly seem to be is responsive to recent events. After conservative radio host Michael Reagan took to CNN to say that the problem with the younger set is that they get all liquored up on election eve and can't crawl their way to the ballot box, MoveOn launched a Young Voter Pledge which read, "I will not get SO drunk on November 3rd that I am unable to vote on November 4th." Deal. The Monday night drink specials around here stink anyway. (via Future Majority) #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Da Noive of Da Guy: As part of its churning out websites and subsites at a remarkable clip, the Republican National Committee has launched the Obama Audacity Watch. The bare-bones site collects links to news stories and video clips that, in the RNC's mind, go to prove how very full of himself the Democratic candidate is. Of late, the McCain camp and the GOP have been hitting this idea hard -- that Barack Obama is arrogant, full of hubris, somehow reminiscent of Paris Hilton. (Someone in the RNC web shop is probably right now mashing up Obama campaign video with footage of the Beatles' arrival in America.) MyDD's Todd Beeton brands it the "Presumptuous Meme", and, as Todd recounts, the right seems to be getting a lot of help from some in the press in pushing it along. But, it kinda goes without saying that that logo didn't help. That logo reeeeelly didn't help. #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Grab Your Camera, Go Pork Hunting, Get Paid: It's one thing to read a newspaper report on how a newly-opened museum dedicated to the art of teapots was funded with $400,000 in government cash. It's quite another thing to see with your own eyes where your taxpayer dollars went. That's the idea behind "Porkbusters On Patrol," a new "networked journalism project" from the conservative-flavored video-sharing site Eyeblast.tv and the bipartisan Porkbusters coalition. Unlike many similar experiments in citizen journalism, pork-reporting participants can get paid for their stories and travel expenses. The push calls for videos, to be short, funny, and preferably involve some sort of gimmick -- like, for example, holding a tea party on the lawn of the Sparta (NC) Teapot Museum. (We can't resist noting the museum's simply awesome slogan: "Steeped in Surprises.") (via Paul Blumenthal) #

  • Tweeters Across the Pond: The highest levels of the U.K. government are embracing Twitter. Word comes -- via tweet of course -- that the newly re-designed number10.gov.uk website will feature 10 Downing Street's official Twitter stream on its homepage, joining existing YouTube and Flickr feeds. The account (@DowningStreet) is reportedly manned by Downing Street's digital communications team. Followers were treated to some great stuff coming out of Barack Obama's recent visit with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, including some unstaged snap shots and a mention that the Democratic candidate is "a very nice man." #

  • Andrew on Arianna: The Cult of the Amateur author Andrew Keen profiles the Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington. Of particular interest is his take on OffTheBus, a project spearheaded by the Huffington Post and NewAssignment.Net. Andrew: "[It] has certainly made an impact, it has also raised worrying questions about professionalism and integrity in journalism." (Thx Jay Rosen) #

In Case You Missed It...

e.politics' Colin Delany ask whether the "army" of online supporters Obama has gathered during the election will, should he win, turn its attention to Congress. #