On March 28, 2008 at New York University, digital media trailblazers met to talk about how the web is changing American politics.
With Jeff Jarvis moderating, Arianna Huffington, Jay Rosen, Micah Sifry and Lisa Tozzi talked about how the 2008 presidential elections have evolved, and what will come next. GroundReport.com produced the event and the transcript that follows.
Jeff Jarvis: What do think is your greatest or most “pleasant surprise” and greatest disappointment, so far, about the web’s role in the election?
Micah Sifry: If I had to summarize it in one sentence, the biggest news for me about how the internet is changing the presidential nominating process, is a reduction of the importance of big money and big media in whittling the field down.
If it were not for the internet, I think it would clearly be the case that Hillary would be the presumptive nominee today. It has made a huge difference for Obama’s viability.
She (Clinton) organized her campaign the way every democratic front-runner going back to the 1980’s has done this. Obama was seemingly in the role that every challenger has fallen short in- which is, she’s Mondale and he’s Gary Hart or Dukakis, in 2000, Gore v. Bradley.
She had the big money from the beginning, and the press confirming she was the front runner- those are two things that carry someone all the way through to the nomination—usually. But this time, Obama proved he could build two things that could help him at critical moments. One was a very deep network of supporters that ultimately had proven far more valuable in the money-chase than Hillary’s big donors, who have all maxed out. The only reason she’s still in the race is because she asked for help, and started mentioning her website URL, and hundreds of thousands of people, whom up to that point weren’t really being asked for help, started giving.
The other thing is that our media system is breaking open. The old frame imposed by mainstream big media being sound-byting of the election.
At least now it’s possible for “sound-blasting” to matter as much as sound-byting.
Online, Obama is making fantastic use of YouTube and other video-sharing sites. The average length of his YouTube views is 13 minutes, and they only count full length views. His race speech is 37mins long and has been viewed something like more than 4 million times.
The sound byte that could hurt him is this stuff from Reverend Wright, [and] is being played over and over again on TV, and in the past, there was no way to defeat sound bytes with substance. Because people were dependent on TV, and TV doesn’t deliver substance- its not built into its economic structure- the sound byte has gotten shorter and shorter- its shrunk since the 1960’s from about 43 seconds, to today at about 10 seconds.
But online, you can have a sound blast–people know that they can go find it. If you say something interesting, people will want to share it, if they can spread it they will. And I think that has helped Obama enormously. So that’s my biggest pleasant surprise.
Biggest disappointment? Two quick ones.
One is, that for all the new media involvement, the overarching narrative that still dominates discussion is still the “horserace.” I think that’s indisputable, and there are probably structural reasons for that, and that a lot of leading bloggers also just want to talk about the horserace because that’s what got them into blogging.
And the other is that, the campaigns seemingly still have not embraced the public as co-creators of our democracy. They are happy to take people’s money, take people’s time, and volunteers for the campaign- and some campaigns will even push some of these roles out to the edges and let some people have more latitude. But nobody is asking for the voters’ input about anything more than “What should be my campaign song?”
I think this is a process that will change over time- but policy has always been made by experts and elites, and the candidate and a few of their inner circle, and they have all these hangers on around them, who try to sort of attach themselves to the campaign.
But I am waiting for the day when some candidate says, ‘I think the public has a lot of good ideas, and I want to hear them, and create a process so that those can matter.’ And not just “What color should our flag be?” or “What should our campaign song be?”
Arianna Huffington: I was nodding in agreement with Micah the entire time he was talking. But I do have one very quick disappointment and 3 very quick positive developments.
My quick disappointment kind of echoes Micah’s- We’ll never really fully see the power of the internet in politics until the current generation of consultants retires, because they are not really comfortable with the internet. And we can look at how munch money is still pouring into 30 second ads on television, which are completely unmemorable.
Most of the money raised in politics still goes to advertising, and very little advertising is happening on the net. So that’s my biggest disappointment.
Jeff Jarvis: I’ll just add a stat I read today, that Obama spent one million on Google ads in February and Clinton spent one-tenth of that.
Arianna Huffington: Very interesting, actually that leads to my first positive development, which is the way that the Obama campaign demonstrated what the Dean campaign failed to demonstrate: that you can take it from the viral and move it to the street. And I was in Chicago last week, talking to Chris Hughes, who was explaining to me how they used Facebook to actually mobilize volunteers in Ohio to get the vote out. The volunteers got out and went to a million Ohio homes, all that just through Facebook. This is a huge shift from the past, now online socializing tools can actually generate real votes.
My second positive element is that what is happening online is actually reducing the power of the mainstream media to set the narrative. The New York Ttimes and the Washington Post are doing great things, but they are doing them online. Let’s take the war in Iraq, the media has been covering it less and less, down 80%, and this has allowed the John McCains of this world to claim "the surge is working" but if you go to "OneCall" or "Huffington Post" you find a very different reality about Iraq.
My final positive aspect is the effect of the web on polls. I have a longstanding campaign against polls and their influence in American politics. Harry Shearer and I have started a campaign called "Partnership for a Poll-free America". Something has happened in this campaign because polls have been getting it wrong. Look in New Hampshire, all these analysts asking themselves, post-mortem, "How did we get it so wrong? Maybe it’s because Hillary cried or she was tough." No, it’s because you got it wrong! The pollsters don’t really factor in the undecided, they mention them in fine print but they are not really integrated in their predictions. Because the undecided blur the numbers and make it more difficult to create the sort of clear-cut horserace that they want. At the Hufington Post, we started a new feature called "Pollstrology" and we give you all the polls you want but at the same time we give you the horoscopes of the candidates and the weather report, I am fine with polls, but let’s put them in the right context.
Jay Rosen: I totally agree with you. That is definitely the right way to go.
Jeff Jarvis: I am hearing a lot of optimism so far, and we will push that back later. But on Obama’s campaign, I am a Hillary supporter, he has really created a movement. I don’t think any one else in this campaign has created a movement and I respect him for that.
Micah Sifry: Well, you can give Ron Paul a little respect because he has created a movement as well.
Jeff Jarvis: Yeah, and hiring Chris Hughes (for Obama’s campaign) from Facebook was an incredibly important moment, showing the understanding of using Facebook to organize people at the core. I’ve got to tip my hat.
Jay Rosen: I will tell you some positives, some negatives and then I will tell you a little story. The most positive development I have seen, is this sort of development from this moment in 2004, when the internet sort of burst into presidential politics. The evolution since then is exactly what I would have expected if the internet was going to be a major player in presidential elections. Trippi’s original insight and what the Dean campaign represented was that, with the falling cost of communication means between like-minded people, you could run politics and media in a different way. With this falling cost, you could "hook up" more people together and this success was obvious because a campaign is just that this would have implications on how we elect a president and how we communicate information about that election. So, what happened was, that it was a lot easier to grasp the potential of it and act poetic about it, than to actually make it work.
And the first attempt didn’t really work, and our political class took too much of an interpretation of it and was expecting the Dean formula to fail, but in fact we learned from 2004. Dean could not effectively connect the online energy to offline mobilization, but by 2008 it changed, and a strange thing happened. Somebody with a background in community organizing, got smuggled in to the presidential election at a time with "cost of like-minded people to find each other" was a real social fact.
And if you look at the tributaries from 2004, a lot of them went online to create social networking tools and political tools to connect people and four years later these same people come back with a lot more knowledge of how to make it work. And the key insight is that when technology changes things, the next wave doesn’t require technology and geeks but a new understanding how to organize people. And that’s what Obama has done with the Web. And that’s what we are trying to do with Off The Bus.
Off The Bus has zero technological innovation; it’s all about organizing people. From that point of view, everything is positive. And as one who looks forward towards the fall of the one-to-many elites and enjoys tracking their progress, everything is going fine. Think about it, the horserace press who thinks that they are the savvy, inside judges of what is going to happen, they have been wrong every time. And the pollsters who used to have it right, and tell you "here is your message," cannot really find the message.
We are at an outcome, where Obama and McCain are about to capture the nomination, that no one really expected. This is good; this tells you that democratic politics is alive. The one-to-many elites are behaviorists, they think that you can predict what someone will do by knowing what they have done. And the people who are taking over bit-by-bit and cycle-by-cycle are ready for something new. So I think that if we moderate our expectations, and don’t expect a revolution at every cycle, but the gradual progress, we see a really great picture.
The downside I want to point out is that the old system of broadcast politics, raise the money, take the polls, determine your message, and spit out the ads is still here, and it actually runs 55% to 60% of the whole system. So we are still in an old politics model, and the way that this comes in is through this insidious phrase "the low information voter". "The low information voter" is the person on the other side who is just getting the information through the old system and that is why we are still dominated by that system.
Jeff Jarvis: I want to ask the audience. I want to be a pollster here. How many of you think that the influence of the television in the election is going down?
(Most people raise their hands). Okay, a lot of optimism here. Lisa, I don’t want to put you on the spot here, but you are sort of the bridge between the two worlds.
Jeff Jarvis: I have been very impressed and I have told Saul Hansell, your fellow blogger, that the most impressive aspect of the blog world at the New York Times is that it has brought this blogging voice into the press, the written press. Especially the political coverage in that hallowed temple, is a big deal. And here you are with no apparent scares. So what are your disappointments and pleasant surprises?
Lisa Tozzi: My pleasant surprise has to do with how the political desk was created at the New York Times. We started about a year ago, with this idea that we were going to build the desk as an integrated medium and you wouldn’t have the web people running after the print people and vice versa. We all sit together and we all work on the same projects. And that has been working well, and some longstanding hold-outs from the print side have embraced our work online.
Jeff Jarvis: What is the essence of that? What is the newest thing to them in bridging the old to the new?
Lisa Tozzi: I think that filing regularly as opposed to having a deadline is a big change for them. It really is revolutionary in their way of thinking as opposed to hanging to story until the end of the day. We break news on the web and everything doesn’t have to be a 1200 word story to be important. I also think that a number of reporters are interested in seeing readers’ response to what they are doing, and incorporate that into their work. We have done a bunch of newspapers stories that feature comments by readers. My biggest disappointment would be the execution of the YouTube debates. I was looking forward to them, some of the questions were really good, but it was more about the style of the debate rather than the substance.
Jeff Jarvis: I want to go back to Micah. The narrative is still a mess, it is still a horse race. There are more voices, but it is still about fundraising, TV still matters and the money spent on ads is still huge. I am not sure that we have changed the narrative for big presidential elections.
Micah Sifry: There is a change of the narrative, otherwise Clinton would be the nominee. The political science literature on how we have an invisible primary the year before the elections where anybody casts a vote, a handful of bigfoot journalists decide who is viable and they pick up on who the big people are funding and that’s the process, and that’s how we have gotten the front-runner in every cycle except for this one.
The reason I was furrowing my brow is because I don’t want this whole conversation to be about the presidential election because this topic is how the internet is changing politics. The presidency is important but it isn’t everything so let’s take a step back and remember that there’s are other pictures at work there.
Jeff Jarvis: Well there’s not only that but there’s also governing the nation. I still want to say on the presidential for one more second because hey, it’s 2008. We’ve heard a lot about the horserace but also about what you and I hope is a death metal for this claim of objectivity and the impact that has on the narrative and the hiding of agendas, lets say.
Jay Rosen: Well it’s true that the horserace narrative remains the way it is and I think there are a lot of different reasons for that. One of them is that election happens to be a story in which the new information is actually controlled by a very small number of people within the campaigns and then the only other information is held by the voters.
So it’s a weird kind of a story where it’s easy for it to be empty for a long period of time because there’s a small number of people who know what you’re going to. And so the horserace narrative is actually being broken down. It’s been wrong a lot, it’s failed to predict the race, it doesn’t have that much to recommend it, however, the reason we still see it is that it’s still functional in that it’s safe, known, you don’t have to teach it to anybody. It’s portable. You can re-use it every year; it’s like Christmas tree-in-the-box, right? You just take it out.
And in order to get "beyond it" or to displace it, what you have to have is some kind of purpose for your coverage: something you’re trying to achieve, something that you want to place on the election year agenda, and the mainstream media is so petrified of doing that that it just prefers the default narrative because it can’t really get together it’s political act.
The most interesting move I’ve seen by a mainstream news operation in 2008 was the Boston globe deciding that it was going to get every single candidate on the record about the growth of executive power and the use of things like signing statements and extended to them this huge questionnaire about their views on it in an effort to inject that issue into the campaign and it clearly fell it had the right to do it. But the press at large is not willing to do that, because they are just too scared.
Jeff Jarvis: Arianna, you are not mainstream media, or you will be someday. You are bigger than Drudge, let’s point that out. What is news? What is added in the coverage of Huffington Post, Off the Bus? What is different in the coverage?
Arianna Huffington: What Jay said is incredibly important because it comes down to a fundamental problem with the mainstream media. They feel that in order to be "fair", in order to be neutral, in order to be objective, they have to give equal time to two sides of a story, even if a story does not have two sides. Global warming, for example, does not have two sides and look at how the media covered and continue to cover the issue. You have Al Gore on one hand talking about the dangers of global warming, and Senator James Inhofe and Michael Crayton or whichever latest global warming denier on the other hand, and the media see themselves in the middle saying, like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth? You decide." And we are beginning to break this.
Jeff Jarvis: How?
Jay Rosen: You actually lose people’s trust when you do not take a position.
Arianna Huffington: People are now beginning to accept, increasingly, that not everything is a mixed bag. Part of it has been the coverage of the war in Iraq, with all the people following the John McCains, like John King on CNN talking about soccer games, and good things going on.
How can you call this a mixed bag? It’s like going to the doctor and the doctor says: "It’s a little of a mixed bag, on one hand your acne has improved, but one the other hand you have a brain tumor." That’s not a mixed bag.
There is a soccer game going on, while the whole world is falling apart and 4 million Iraqis have left the country, and there is less electricity than during Saddam. Where is the mixed bag?
That is changing, different blogs have different passions, our passion is Iraq so we choose every day to put on our top page what we believe is the truth about Iraq.
Jeff Jarvis: That’s the key because you have a belief in what the truth is.
Arianna Huffington: We don’t believe it is our opinion, we believe it is the truth. That is the other thing, we don’t see it as our opinion vs. John McCain’s opinion.
Jeff Jarvis: So you do what Jay said, and you assert the agenda. Lisa, you are not allowed to do that, right? Or do you see a potential for change?
Lisa Tozzi: I don’t necessarily see objectivity as insidious as other people see it. I think there is value to having a number of news organizations who express different voices, that’s what we love about the Internet. And one of those voices might teach you something that you weren’t expecting to learn, you might see something. You don’t just go to the place where you are going to be in a room with everyone that agrees with you. In terms of providing balance of information, there is still a role for the media.
Jeff Jarvis: I don’t want to have a journalism seminar on objectivity, I agree. But what we are talking about, to some extent, is transparency. Which goes beyond "this is what I think," to what Jay and Arianna are saying, "this is important, this is what we are going to put into the discussion."
Lisa Tozzi: Yeah, I think that the New York Times has done a lot more of that over the past few years and continues to do a lot of Q & As. After the Spitzer story, for example, we had two days of people asking to the reporters and journalists how the story came about, why did you do this?
Not that long ago, if I went to the Times’ editor on the print side and said, "You know what would be a really good idea? Let’s just get some readers’ questions asking you how you did your story," I would have been laughed out of the room. And now they come to us and say, "You know what would be really cool? If we got some readers’ questions."
Jeff Jarvis: I don’t want you to be the representative of all mainstream media. As a Clinton supporter, my view of the narrative is that it has been incredibly loving of Barack Obama, does anybody disagree with that?
Lisa Tozzi: I know that half of our readers at the New York Times disagree with you. Every time we write a story about one side, we get complaints about the other side.
Jeff Jarvis: Let’s go back out here (to the audience).
How many of you think that the media have been in love with Barack Obama?
(Quite a few hands are raised)
And how many of you think that the media is in love with Hillary?
(Significantly fewer hands are raised)
(Even less hands are raised).
Micah Sifry: Yeah, but if you had asked that question in September, people’s hands would have been different because Hillary was coasting. Then something broke, and there was that debate where, supposedly, everyone ganged up on her and that was the moment when her coasting stopped. Rose Garden strategy started to fall apart. I don’t buy that if you are a Hillary supporter you are obviously feeling that she is not getting a fair shake now but a year ago, she was getting the best of shakes.
Jeff Jarvis: Let’s go one step beyond that, about what you said, Micah, about other elections which are being ignored online. Let’s suppose Obama is in the White House…
Arianna Huffington: And he gets the 3 A.M. phone call–
Jeff Jarvis: Yeah, and he gets a 3 A.M. twitter message.–
Arianna Huffington: And what does he do? He crumbles.
Jeff Jarvis: What habits have been learned in politics that should, and will, and must, go over in the government from the Internet? I asked the head of David Cameron’s web camera in the UK at 10 Downing Street, are you really going to do this stuff? [He responded] "Well if we don’t, then everything is cynical.”
But Sarkozy was elected in great measure thanks to some YouTube videos. What do we carry into government?
Arianna Huffington: Again, the first thing we have to change is accountability–that has been missing dramatically. You don’t even have to go to 2004, go to 2006, Democrats won back Congress with the promise that they were going to get us out of Iraq and instead we had the surge. No wonder that the approval rate of congressional Democrats is around that of George W. Bush.
I think that is going to change. Obama, Hillary and McCain have come forward with clear plans on major issues. How is the accountability going to be exercised? That is going to be key in knowing if we have transferred some of that knowledge to governing.
Micah Sifry: I think that there is pent-up desire for more openness and interactivity, and even John McCain as president will give us that. I wouldn’t have said for all the other Republicans running.
We are so used to choice, voice and access that is would be very hard for whoever gets in there to continue with the status quo. The most important question about Obama is who owns "the list" [of supporter and campaign emails]?
He has built, with design and some luck, the most sophisticated top-down, bottom-up, lateral political machine that any one of us has seen, and it’s still growing. So the question is, after you win, what do you do with this? Is it really yours? I asked the same question to Joe Trippi a week after the collapse of the Dean campaign: “Who owns the list? Who owns the website?” And he didn’t know.
That list was handed over to something called Democracy for America, who still has meetups and still is a player politically, though a shadow of what the Dean campaign was at its height. I am pessimistic about this, because I think that Americans are lazy and they will think that by electing a President, most of the work is done.
Jeff Jarvis: Isn’t that our job?
Micah Sifry: No, our job in the Do-It-Yourself world that we now live in which is that I now have more power in this [Treo PDA] than the guys who went on the moon. We do have the ability to be supercitizens and expect continuous accountability from whoever we elect. But they will go back to there old ways if we let them.
Jeff Jarvis: You are optimistic about everything else… Are you a populist?
Micah Sifry: I am a populist, and I have faith that as more people learn how to use these tools the more we can collectively make a difference. Jimmy Wales has a great example, he looks at the viability of Wikipedia, minor language Wikipedia sites, and his goal is to have a Wikipedia site for every language that has more than a million speakers. He says that if you have 5 people that are contributing every day it becomes viable.
It doesn’t require that many people per congressional district to hold every member of Congress accountable using the read write web. But we aren’t doing that yet and the danger is, that all this wonderful energy that is being channeled around the presidential election, will go down when "Ah, the good guys are back in charge."
Jeff Jarvis: Well I don’t know anyone else who is running for any other office in the US right now.
Jay Rosen: There are two transparencies wild cards here. McCain has a history of dropping the controls between him and the press, and I don’t think it is clear if he will continue this or not. He might continue to use his method of letting journalists ask him lots of questions as a way of expanding his power, his mastery rather than trying to control the message. It is something to watch because he has been an unconventional candidate in that way.
And when Obama decided he was going to handle the Rezco matter by sitting down for 95 minutes with the Chicago Tribune and let them ask every single question that they can imagine, and it worked, this point to a method of handling the media that is completely different than the control politics of the past. We may continue to see this, we may not, we probably will be disappointed.
The other wild card is that if Obama wins, he has actually thought about how he can start to use the internet to open up government, share more information with citizens, to have more accountability. He actually has plans about this. And unlike Clinton, he has an idea about how to succeed politically that requires that kind of organization, because his idea about how to succeed is not to go back to Washington with the same people but to maximize his leverage outside of D.C. in order to influence the people inside of D.C.
So his political style, at least the one he says he his going to use, kind of matches up with this new organizing capacity. The major unknown, kind of what Micah said, is will this major organization be carried on and will he stick to his political promise on transparency?
Jeff Jarvis: Who would be the ideal Chief Technological Officer that he promises to appoint? Arianna?
Arianna Huffington: Let me just answer your question about Hilary, that she sort of has plans to do that, the one thing that contradicts that is the presence of Mark Penn in her campaign. There is no campaign consultant at the moment who is as Old World, as completely mired in this system that Micah has so beautifully described. The men [like Mark Penn] who wrote "Micro-Trends," you know, the book that has got everything wrong, who said that this campaign would be about micro-trends, about polling, about shifting demographics, about all those things that failed to work in this campaign, they are running her campaign. All this despite the fact that two-thirds of the campaign hate [Mark Penn]. What is it that makes him so indispensable in the eyes of Hillary and Bill Clinton? Because of that, I doubt about how she would operate in the White House.
Jeff Jarvis: We are now getting into “baseball” coverage of the campaign, the second cousin to horse race coverage. I want to open this up. Lisa, let me ask you first, how do you think these new tools are going to change the way one covers government come January? All government. Is the daily work of the journalist at the local newspaper going to change in ways we don’t even know?
Lisa Tozzi: Well, I think you don’t go through all that we have been going through for just one story. It doesn’t just happen at the NYT on the politics desk, it happens throughout the paper, throughout the company. It is actually something I have thought about in terms of "what am I going to do when the election is over?" Is the political campaign coverage going to carry on into the government coverage?
Jeff Jarvis: I am going to ask Andrew because he has been analyzing television and politics for about 20 years. Have you seen any substantial change in the TV coverage of this election?
Andrew: I completely contradict the assertion made here, unchallenged, that the horserace is the dominant narrative. It has been completely changed this time around and what I call it is “reality game show” journalism. What Jane Preston said on the Wolf Blitzer’s response to the race speech of Obama was that, “in the prison of horse race journalism, every single event in the campaign is parsed as ‘who does this help and who does this harm?’ In reality game show journalism, you have larger-than-life characters who embody certain powerful forces in society at large, and these forces clash into one another and we identify our own personal dilemmas with these super hero characters. And one by one, these super hero characters are thrown off the island.
The debates have had a central role, like every Tuesday or Wednesday night like American Idol, you have had a debate, and then the viral networking, commentary happens. But television is still important because you couldn’t have organized this primary season without the debates and the online activity that comes out of these debates.
The second question, “Has the news been fair or unfair to a certain candidate?” If you look at it through the prism of reality game show journalism, then that format isn’t "I got a favorite, so I want this one to lose," but it is a series of ordeals where you make someone the front-runner and you throw things at him or her to see if they withstand the challenge, or you see if the person who has been so hard done by can come from behind a leap ahead. So the shifting moods of the week, or that she used to be a favorite, they all play into a model to generate excitement, a buzz around the race which isn’t about who is going to win, but does it engage the electorate?
So you think about Iraq because McCain is a war hero, you think about race because Obama is a black man, you think about the glass ceiling because it is Hillary’s turn now. These are social issues, these are not political issues, and you see the election as an anthropological exercise, a four-year ritual when society gets to inspect what their assumptions are.
Steve Grant: Hi, I am Steve Grant, one of Arianna’s bloggers. What is on my mind is the definition of what is truth? Do we have the power to say what the truth is in a world where spin has gone beyond the old days when spin was just leaving out what you don’t want people to remember like Reagan was tired during the debates. Now spin, you just lie but you do it so well and with such conviction that it becomes the truth. So what I heard today that actually scares me about the process we are in today is a development where the Hillary people are saying that the nomination is being stolen from them by the people in power, so we are actually loosing the ability to find what the truth is about who the winner of the nomination is. So I am wondering if we have the ability to be the infinite source in helping people deal with who is the actual winner of the nomination process.
Jay Rosen: If the question is, “What is truth?” you came to the right place, New York University. We can answer your question. An aspect of this that is getting better is that it is now more costly in many ways for the mainstream media to say, "some people say the world is flat and some people say the world is round, and we don’t really know and you figure it out." I don’t think that "he said, she said" journalism is actually a winning strategy anymore and a lot of news organizations have realized that they can’t do that.
If you look at "Fact Checker" at the Washington Post for example, they subject dubious, arguable claims to a factual test and they tell you "one Pinocchio, two Pinocchios, three…" this is an attempt to say what the truth is. The other thing that is happening is when news organizations follow the advice and become more transparent about their truths, they get checked really effectively, so claims that have nothing to them get found out more quickly and you get embarrassed more quickly. All of that works to the advantage of those who now that the world is not always balanced like this, and continuing down that road actually generates a bad reputation as something that will hurt your credibility.
Arianna Huffington: This actually goes to something more fundamental which is the belief that there is such a thing as truth. Because what is ironic in this kind of post-modern world, it’s the right that has become post-modern in somehow doubting that there is truth, you know, maybe evolution is real or maybe it’s just funny theory.
Jeff Jarvis: I think the media thought they were the owners of truth to some extent, and that’s simplistic and stupid but I will say it anyway. I think that they forgot that their job was to help them decide what was true, at the end of the day, the citizenry must decide what is true and who is legitimate.