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Daily Digest: 9/17/07

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, September 17 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • The Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas notes that since Wikipedia is one of the top ten destinations on the Internet, it's a primary source of information about the 2008 election. "The site represents both what's good (collective knowledge) and what's potentially dangerous (rampant anonymity) about the Internet," Vargas writes. Therefore, candidate profiles are mixture of thorough scholarship and annoying vandalism. Barack Obama's profile, for example, runs over 22 pages and has 167 sources; it also briefly featured a photo of naked black men, which managed to stick around for two minutes before an editor removed it.
  • This weekend Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher posted an open letter to Elizabeth Edwards, chiding her for criticizing MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad in a media conference call. Hamsher isn't miffed that Edwards attacked the add, but that she used the rhetoric of the opposition to do so. "So here’s the rule. You never repeat right wing talking points to attack your own, ever. You never enter that echo chamber as a participant. Ever. You never give them a hammer to beat the left with. Just. Don’t. Do. It."
  • Kate Kaye at Clickz reports that our favorite online data-heads at Hitwise have released numbers claiming that over 65 percent of visitors to Fred Thompson's website were male, and 40 percent of them were 55 or older. If these numbers correlate to real votes, he might not be in trouble. In 1984, Ronald Reagan won 62% of the female vote, despite Walter Mondale's female running mate, Geraldine Ferraro.
  • Do you love our charts and data but still find yourself wanting more? Matthew Hurst at Data Mining lists five sources for tracking political buzz. In addition to Wonkosphere, which we've covered before, he lists Fox's Opinion BuzzTracker, PoliticalTrends, SiloBreaker, and CNN/Umbria (what's with the mashed-up names?) as the places to go to find out who's hot and who's not, and why.

The Candidates on the Web

  • In a blistering attack on MoveOn.org, John McCain went so far as to suggest that the liberal advocacy group "ought to be thrown out of this country." It was caught, of course, on video.
  • Frustrated lawmakers who find town hall meetings to be less than an ideal situation to engage voters have been turning to what David Nather at Congressional Quarterly calls "telephone town halls." The idea is that an elected official calls a list of supporters for a giant conference call. "Think of it as a radio talk show where the host calls the listeners, or as a twist on 'robocalls,' the automated election-year messages on which the technology is based," Nather writes. "In this case, however, there is a live person on the line, and the listener has a chance to talk back." The presidential candidates have explored this technology a little, but something tells me it hasn't yet been used to its true potential.

In Case You Missed It...

Steven Clift from E-Democracy.org makes it clear that, despite the number of online debates we've seen this cycle, this isn't the first election year to see online debates.

After noticing a few superficial similarities between the creators of the Vote Different ad and the recent PhonyFred.org dustup, I decided to look a little closer at both pieces of semi-citizen oppo.

Rudy Giuliani produced his first web ad, a blistering attack on MoveOn.org and Hillary Clinton, and it's good.

Morra Aarons has a fantastic roundup of reactions to her post on conservative bloggers. Morra, a northeastern liberal, had assumed that there weren't conservative bloggers in her midst, but alas, there are.