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[newmedia] Shrum and Blankley

I’m at the New Media Academic Summit for a second day. [Disclosure: Edelman PR is the main sponsor of this, and I’ve consulted to them in the past. In fact, it looks like I’ll be doing some more consulting to them.]

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Bob Shrum and Tony Blankley are talking. Shrum is a long-time Democratic political consultant and campaign manager. Blankley is his Republican counterpart (roughly). Shrum begins by saying that the Internet can be a tremendous tool for political persuasion. Blankley agrees and says the Net is weakening parties. And, says Blankley, this is the first communication tech that allows us to move from mass to more customized messaging. Congress is better at “sending out than capturing,” Blankley says.

Shrum: Obama has defied conventional wisdom about over-exposure. People now want the immediacy of their leaders. Second, his program is far more ambitious than usual. Blankley agrees that the exposure isn’t overdone, although he notes that O’s negatives have gone up faster than his positives have gone down. (“He’s still doing fine,” he notes.) It’d be better to have a bench of people who can speak, he says. (“Biden is not turning out to be a good communications device.”)

Q: If it’s a new era, why are the experts on the Sunday shows still male and pale?
Tony: I’m not sure it’s a new era. I thought we did see an increase in people of colors among the commentators during the campaign. Who gets booked for these shows isn’t a conspiracy. The bookers see someone on a show and devide to get him for their show. They’re desperately trying to find someone and they fall back on the people they know.
Shrum: The networks are trying, but they’re facing three centuries of discrimination.

Q: Is it now easier to mount an oppositional change?
Shrum: O has organized YouTube, etc., so well that it works in their favor.

Q: [me] Is it a generational change? If so, at the maximum, what does that change consist of?
Shrum: Yes. In fact, we may be at the end of the Reagan era. There may be a fundamental realignment in American politics. But we won’t know for ten years.
Blankley: Obama won in part because he won among the Millennials, because of his use of the new tech. There has been a generational shift in technology usage. Mass communication will just luck archaic. Will there be a new era? Possibly. But it won’t be based on the demographic shift. It will depend on O convincing us that there’s a better way to do politics.

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