When I was younger and my family wasleaving on an outing one April day, my mother asked me if we needed raincoats. I looked out at the dry street and yard, breathed in the moistening air, took a look at the storm clouds in the distance, and said, “I don’t know, it’s not raining!”. In a hurry, we left without jackets and later were drenched in a downpour courtesy of the same storm clouds I saw earlier in the afternoon.
I learned that day it is possible to be factually correct and completely misjudge the situation. Apparently some of our elected officials have not learned that lesson.
A recent Washington Times article examined the RPV efforts to get a better handle on technology, including interaction with bloggers. The article referenced The Cooch’s suggestion (which I examined here), and provided comments from a number of GOP officials who see the benefit of a greater technological awareness and competence.
As always, there is an exception. Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield) doesn’t see the value of such efforts. Speaking in particular of bloggers:
[Albo] said he is not convinced that increasing the party’s influence on the Internet will pay dividends with undecided voters.
“The problem is most of the people who monitor these blogs are hobbyists who already know who they are going to vote for,” he said. “I don’t think the average Joe who doesn’t know whom he is going to vote for is monitoring blogs.”
This is a true statement, but draws the wrong conclusion.
Average Joe is not monitoring blogs, but the MSM is monitoring them as a source of information. If there are ten blogs saying an event happened this way, and only one saying it happened another way (especially if one of the ten produces video), then newspaper and television reporters-mediums that Average Joe probably does monitor-may well report the majority view as fact.
Want proof? The MSM ultimately put the word on Senator Allen’s various verbal slips, but the seed work was done by bloggers. The initial stories were all broken first on blogs, then picked up by the MSM.
Now, did the blogs defeat George Allen? Not hardly. He did that to himself. But the blogs helped create a new terrain that gave the Senator chances to make mistakes, which he then embraced.
Beyond serving as a source of MSM leads and information, blogs are also a source of inspiration and motivation. Delegate Albo should recognize that blog readers are more than “hobbyists who already know who they are going to vote for”. They are also campaign volunteers who work the phone banks, walk the precincts, and do the grunt work that will make or break a campaign. Isn’t it prudent to be able to effectively reach these people? Isn’t it prudent to have as many tools as possible to not only disseminate the party POV, but also to key up your workers to go once more into the breach?
All contests, from combat to cake bakes, are won by deploying a combinations of tools and techniques. Can you imagine an old west gunfighter getting challenged to a gunfight, but deciding to only take a Bowie Knife? It would probably be a one-sided fight. Any candidate who refuses to make full use of all tools available to fight an election is taking the same risk.
It is possible to be correct while being wrong…and unless attitudes change I have a hunch that Delegate Albo will discover the pleasure and pain of that condition.