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Daily Digest: A Barack Blowout?

BY Joshua Levy | Friday, April 11 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Because it’s Friday: Public Radio Exchange's BallotVox posts this photo of "Bras for Hillary. Sexists, or womyn power?

  • According to Matt Pace from Compete, we should all ignore the “media hype” claiming the Democratic race is still close. Compete’s data shows a blowout for Barack Obama, and their “FaceTime” metric — a “holistic measure of web-wide candidate engagement based on the total amount of time voters spend with candidates across the leading social networks and video sharing websites” — shows Obama with a 4:1 margin over Hillary Clinton. But Obama has always been more popular online than offline. Average poll numbers at RealClearPolitics show a much closer race, with Obama up 5.8% nationally and Clinton up 7.8% in Pennsylvania. We suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  • Meanhwhile, Hitwise, another data marketing company, shows a general decline in election-centered online activity. VP of Research Heather Hopkins presents a graph showing online interest topping in February, around the time of Super Tuesday and slowly falling ever since. Don’t worry; if you’re afraid of suffering from Post-Pennsylvania Election Withdrawal Syndrome (PPEWS), techPresident will be just the pill you’ll need.

  • A powerhouse panel — including Arianna Huffington, Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, the NYT’s Lisa Tossi, and our own Micah Sifry — convened a couple of weeks ago at NYU to talk about about the web and politics. GroundReport produced the event, and yesterday posted some highlights. “If it were not for the internet, I think it would clearly be the case that Hillary would be the presumptive nominee today,” Micah said provocatively. And Rosen, the ultimate critic of horserace coverage, said, “It’s portable. You can re-use it every year; it’s like the Christmas Tree in the box, right? You just take it out.” We love it.

  • Supporters of Ron Paul who are now backing John McCain have produced a new pro-McCain site, and subtlety just ain’t their thing. “We stand against Socialism and another Democratic Party takeover,” write the creators of Join or Die ‘08. The logo? A famous cartoon by Benjamin Franklin that’s been revised for 2008. It’s an illustration of a snake broken into eight pieces, each representing a fallen GOP candidate except for the head, which stands for McCain. Scary!

The Candidates on the Web

  • It looks like is headed for a relaunch in exactly four days, 22 minutes, and 44 seconds (that’s tax day, folks). Aaron Krager at Street Prophets suggests that he could be forming a new PAC, possibly related to his fair tax idea. Maybe he could use the services of those Huck-loving twins, who never got their v.2.0 off the ground.

In Case You Missed It…

It’s favorite video time! Watch as Andy Cobb laments the end of Hillary’s run; Obama Girl returns (again); Elton John enters U.S. politics; a conservative rapper does that really-fast-rapping thing like Eminem; and Barack Obama talks convincingly about social media.

Last night Alan Rosenblatt tried to show his Internet Advocacy Communication class the new McCain Girls video. They had been following their adventures as we study YouTube’s impact on the election, and wanted to keep up with their progress but POOF!, it was gone.

A super interesting controversy has been brewing over LegiStorm, the transparency-obsessed site devoted to bringing public — but buried — documents and data to light, and it looks like the public is on their side.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.


wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.


tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.