BY Jack McEnany | Wednesday, March 21 2007
Fifteen days after it first ran on YouTube, The New York Times online weighed in on the 1984 Vote Different controversy yesterday. One expects a certain stodginess from the Gray Scale Lady – a pronounced hip deficit, a tendency to favor the powers that be – but the tone of the story had the feel of a hacker/cracker expose rather than an examination (or dare say, a celebration) of just plain folks creating compelling political content. Citizens exercising their rights to free speech through the power of the Internet is, apparently, vaguely subversive.
In an email to TechPresident’s Micah Sifry,ParkRidge47, the creator of the 1984 mash-up, explained its genesis, “A friend suggested the idea after reading a New York Times article about the Clinton's campaign bullying of donors and political operatives after the Geffen dustup. I don't want to say more than that. I'd prefer to let it speak for itself.”
True to form, the medium remains the message and that message is: Think for yourself. But rejecting the credit for something popular will always makes the MSM suspicious – anyone who refuses a byline must be hiding something.
Hillary Clinton, the target of the piece, said that if it gets people – especially young people – involved in the process, then it’s a good thing. And that was the right response. But if the MSM treat independently produced ideas as outside the acceptable range of politics, if it insists that campaigns distance themselves from supporters as if they were deep-pocketed 527s with a secret agenda, then elections really have become all about campaigns and candidates.
No matter what the dead trees and talking heads may say, it’s time to take democracy out of the hands of the professionals and give it back to the people. ParkRidge47’s video is just one small, well-produced example. I hope we see many more.