After reading and discussing the Dean campaign, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign seems a politicians dream. His campaign executed everything that Dean’s tried to do and more. Obama’s campaign was a machine, but not in the typical sense. When I think of a campaign’s media department you think of a machine constantly churning out press releases to all media outlets in the hopes of getting any coverage at all, but the Obama campaign worked differently. It worked closely with smaller blogs to help disseminate information that eventually made its way to the main-stream media (Kreiss.) As a journalist the idea of being manipulated by a political campaign is inherently wrong and threatening to the core of journalism. Though in the end, we are choosing to run a story that gained prominence on online instead of our own sources, the fact that the campaign goes through these back channels is smart and scary. This causes non-stories to become stories and probably contributes to overexposure and accusations of bias. Obama’s media machine worked the system to the tee.
I couldn’t vote in 2008, which limited my involvement and awareness of the political campaigns at the time. I knew there was an increase in social media use during the campaign, but I didn’t realize all the back channels the Obama campaign used to spread its message to followers. The campaign managed to make the good news and buzz about the campaign not seem to come from the campaign. The use of Youtube, in particular, as an anonymous publishing source brings a source of legitimacy. Anonymity prevents users from automatically discounting the information as campaign propaganda. As the Edelman piece examines, people are more likely to trust information from a source similar to themselves which makes anonymity ideal (Edelman, 2009.) The widespread understanding of this tactic, however could make the audience skeptical of any political videos.
What do you think of campaigns’ use of the internet to indirectly disseminate information? Do you think it’s deceiving? Should all propaganda from campaigns be labeled as such, or is all fair in love and war?