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Friday, February 8, 2008

Politics in a series of tubes

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ATLANTA PRESS CLUB PANEL: Everyone is excited about the Internet.

Last Thursday at the Atlanta Press Club, the Honeycomb Hideout of Atlanta journalism, four local masters of political webitude participated in a panel discussion on how electronic media are affecting political campaigns.

Former AJC-er and current Southern Political Report-er Tom Baxter noted how the Web allowed for a proliferation of political news outlets such as Politco and the Huffington Post. The entire panel — which included CNN.com’s John Helton, Shelby “Shelbinator.com” Highsmith and James “Griftdrift.blogspot.com” Williams — agreed the electronic media allow both facts and bullshit to go further and faster than ever, and for average people (be they bloggers, YouTubers or idiots who think Sen. Barack Obama is Muslim) to shape political debates in ways that were, until 10 years ago, limited to people with access to TV studios or printing presses.

So how are electronic media affecting campaigns? They are changing the tools, the tactics and speed without necessarily changing underlying principles.

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