Democracy Dot Com: The Left Shoots Back

New report on talk video spells doom for talk radio's influence.

Democracy Dot Com: The Left Shoots Back

Video's killing the rock-ribbed-conservative stars, if a new survey on the Internet and politics is true.

YouTube, in other words, is sending Rush Limbaugh down the tubes.

Right-wingers dominated the air waves for decades and were the early users of the Internet, compared with lefties, as I noted nearly a decade ago in the Voice in "Left Behind".

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Now the left has overtaken the right. Also endangered are the establishment's talking-head TV shows, like the one Tim Russert hosted.

Talking head is a lot funnier than talking heads. (See the footage by TomSongs of a White House protest — this scene didn't make the network news, as far as I know.)

His "Impeach" music video argues that it's "time to clean the White House out" because the Bush regime's crimes are "so much bigger than the stain on an intern's dress."

Might as well scrub Limbaugh and other cretins. The new survey doesn't even talk about the eventual demise of talk radio's influence, but that's the implication.

Click on this Wired story, "Record Percentage Of Americans Use Internet For Politics, Survey Finds" for details:

The survey found that the internet is becoming an increasing part of the norm of political participation — people are using it to read the news, share their views, or to participate in some other process to get others to take political action.

"In this season, just the twelfth year of presidential politics online, there is no disputing the fact that the internet has moved from the periphery to the center of national politics," write Aaron Smith, a research specialist and Lee Rainie, the Pew project's director in the new survey.

The results of this latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project will ultimately be a fatal blow to the geezer-based right-wing talk radio troops, not to mention those dinosaur newspapers that are slow in hopping aboard the Internet.

And speaking of the presidential election:

In a head-to-head matchup with internet users who support Republican McCain, Obama's backers are more likely to get political news and information online (65% vs. 56%).

More from the survey:

Led by young voters, Democrats and Obama supporters have taken the lead in their use of online tools for political engagement.
74% of wired Obama supporters have gotten political news and information online, compared with 57% of online Clinton supporters.
In a head-to-head matchup with internet users who support Republican McCain, Obama's backers are more likely to get political news and information online (65% vs. 56%).
Obama supporters outpace both Clinton and McCain supporters in their usage of online video, social networking sites and other online campaign activities.

A tiny percentage of people are actually posting campaign videos, but the flood of primary-source politically related material now available online (amid the flood of bullshit) also spells danger for — gulp! — newspaper reporters:

The survey also finds that Americans are eager to view source materials for themselves — almost 40 percent of internet users and a third of all adults have gone online to read or watch unfiltered campaign material, such as archived debates, speeches and announcements and position papers.

It's probably the same with reports from other sources, many of which are no longer being filtered by traditional journalism organizations but are freely available from the ACLU and the Heritage Foundation and all the organizations in between.

That's what I always hungered for as a reporter, and now it's a dream come true. The Abu Ghraib documents, campaign-finance records — all kinds of wonderful material — is online. Who needs CNN or the network news? I don't. And neither do you.

Read the report, if you don't believe me. And that's the point: You can read the report yourself.

Take the long view — read between the lines of the Pew report — and you'll realize that the days of influence are over for such nattering-nabob self-parodies as Limbaugh. Unless he contributes his own fart videos to YouTube.

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