Any good guide to writing — thus to blogging — will tell you, “write what you know.” The trouble is that I’ve got presidential politics on the mind…a notion which is in direct conflict with my own unwritten rule that this is to be a PR/communications/marketing/branding/media blog, and not at all a political blog.
But I have found that an itch to not just write but communicate about a topic results in the inability to write about anything at all. So…where there’s a will, there will have to be a way. I’m still not going to take anyone’s side here on the blog, but if you’ll indulge me for a few hundred words, let me state the following:
- Partisan blogs are frightening. The absolute assurance that some people have of the evil that is one candidate despite any contrary evidence, versus the reasonableness of the other side, despite equally contrary evidence, is to me astounding. Are people really that sure that they’re right, or is it all for show?
- Pundits should respect to their viewers. TV news commentators are far too enchanted with the thrill of the campaign to be of any use to those of us following politics in our spare time. They think we care whether they are bored with the candidates stating the same old positions — as if any more than 10 percent of us has ever seen, heard or read a candidate’s stump speech in its entirety. They complain that the debates gave us nothing new, as if we the electorate already had a deep understanding of the old stuff. They judge the candidate’s debate performances on how others will react to it, as if…well…as if they know…
Show us some respect: Recap the issues. Judge the actual debate. And as for the performance, just tell us what you think and let the polls handle the rest.
- Obama versus McCain is a new media versus traditional media battle. It’s fascinating to watch the communications battle play out. McCain seems to be focused, day to day, on making news. He delivers stories. He tried to “break news” in each debate — first with a government spending freeze, then with the home mortgage bailout proposal. Obama is doing the integrated marketing thing. His campaign’s use of the internet, social media and mobile marketing has been well documented. But I get the feeling that Obama’s campaign has been frustrating for news junkies looking for that daily jolt of newsie goodness.
- If you want the truth, find good blogs and read them. The problem for mainstream media covering politics is that, by tradition and a code of ethics, they can’t call a lie a lie. Bloggers can. Traditional news organization report facts. They do so within the construct of easily understood stories that play out in the campaigns’ daily drama. Bloggers — and op-ed writers to an extent — can pass judgement. They build around the work of professional journalists. They check facts. They call out the candidates on oft-repeated statements that mislead, obfuscate and cover up the truth. They call a liar a liar.
The challenge, of course, is to find the “good ones”. To me, the best of them offer an opinion and a link — and let you judge for yourself. If you find that the articles and videos don’t back up their opinions, drop them. If you find that they only link to like-minded opinionators, drop them. If you find that they offer you links to the news along with their own unique perspective, keep reading…you’ll learn something.
Finally, here are a few of my favorite RSS feeds of late…Anything you think I should add?
Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish — more links and opining than can be consumed in a day…conservative, not Republican.
James Fallows — smart, reasoned guy on a wide range of subjects.
Clive Crook — another guy from The Atlantic. So sue me… Seems reasoned and conservative.
Real Clear Politics (via TIME) — polls, polls … and surveys.
Eric Black Ink (at MinnPost) — Minnesota reporter, blogger and journalist.
The Same Rowdy Crowd — Communications professionals arguing about the practice of communications in politics.
Slate — direct link to their political coverage…their writers strive for the angle not yet taken.
Salon — Just started getting back into this magazine again … decidedly to the left, last I checked.