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Daily Digest: Who Stole David Brooks?

BY Joshua Levy | Friday, May 23 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Alert: someone has kidnapped New York Times columnist David Brooks and replaced him with a a 25-year geek who refers to things like Twitter,, and Vampire Weekend in his columns, and who now writes phrases like “Barack Obama has become the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes.” At least it’s entertaining. Maybe the captors will release Brooks after Memorial Day, when he can resume describing the decline of the Republican Party and predicting Barack Obama’s success.

  • With more and more talk of a Barack Obama-Jim Webb ticket, the voter-generated content makers were bound to start producing. Colin Delany discovered one such project — The choice is obviously up to Obama, but he and Webb do look pretty good together…

  • The Congressional Quarterly VP Madness contest — in which readers voted for who should be John McCain’s running mate — is over, and the winner is somewhat unexpected: Mike Huckabee! But why give up a budding career as a TV pundit, Huck? It definitely pays better!

  • People often complain that conservative and liberal sites like Townhall or DailyKos are political echo chambers, but a new study from Compete suggests that Huffington Post readers tend to me a pretty diverse group. In February 2008, 34% of visitors also read liberal blogs like Kos and Crooks and Liars, and 27% actually read conservative sites like Townhall and Maybe it’s the Hollwyood gossip that’s pulling them in. Townhall, we’ve discovered your new business strategy.

  • A new site dedicated to online video journalism has just launched, and so far it looks pretty promising. American News Project is funded by the Schumann Center for Media & Democracy. The site is reaching out to its readers for story ideas, funding, and even talent. Keep an eye on it.

  • Another cool new project comes from NPR, which has teamed up with the Center for Investigative Reporting to produce the Secret Money Project. NPR is asking listeners to help track down and identify this year’s crop of 527s that, we can be sure, will soon take the airwaves and the tubes by storm. It’s a welcome invitation, and we hope the public takes them up on it.

  • Social network aggregation site (say that 10 times fast) and potential heir to the Twitter throne FriendFeed just launched a new feature called Rooms, which lets users create public or private spaces to share info and create discussions about various topics. One of the first rooms set up was Obamamania — a place to post links and chat about Obama. The FriendFeed converts will be all over this, but will it gain popularity among the Twittering classes? (via Download Squad)

The Candidates on the Web

  • The GOP is definitely ramping up their use of YouTube. Case in point: the Republican National Convention has announced a new video contest. Voters are encouraged to submit video profiles of “someone in your neighborhood who goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve what Senator McCain calls ‘a cause greater than their own self-interest.’” The public can then vote for their favorites, and the winner will get a free trip to the convention. A very cool idea. Your move, DNC.

  • If you’re checking gas prices using or, you may be surprised to see ads run by the DSCC linking Republican leader Mitch McConnell to the oil and gas industry.

In Case You Missed It…

It’s one thing to read about an event in the newspaper; it’s another thing to watch the event in its unexpurgated form as raw, unedited video, writes Micah Sifry. Such is the case with Barack Obama’s appearance yesterday at a Boca Raton synagogue, , where he was making a direct appeal to Florida’s important bloc of Jewish voters to set aside some of their concerns or fears about his candidacy.

Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, we bring you eight political videos that are guaranteed to stick to your consciousness like ketchup on a burger. You can never escape the tubes!

Obama won big in this month’s North Carolina primary and his online ad strategy in April may have played a role in driving his supporters to the polls, reports Kate Kaye. As the primaries chug along, Senator Barack Obama has steamrolled past fellow Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton and likely Republican nominee John McCain in the Web ad department.