Thursday, November 29, 2007
The internet has been a blessing in achieving greater political transparency, but that has made the lives of politicians and their communications people more difficult. Take, for example, this blog entry that reveals the intentions of the Edward's presidential campaign, which had been hidden beneath a call to rise against lobbyists. The blogger was offended that the campaign wouldn't admit it was engaged in a list-building exercise. Or, take this report from a citizen's group that released on the internet all the "earmarks" politicians tucked into the Labor Health and Human Services spending bill. (An earmark designates money for a politician's pet project and is also called "pork.") These kinds of pressures to open the political process did not exist in the past. They are mostly for the good, although some political activities are better conducted out of the eyes of the general public. What this tells me, however, is that the national political scene needs a different kind of communicator who can thrive in the more open environment. Given the propensity of political communicators to bend truth, that might be difficult.