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TV in ’76; Internet in ’08

The Politics Online Conference got under way this morning with a panel discussion about how new media are influencing the political debate. I thought the selection of panelists—two campaign gurus from 1976—was particularly interesting, considering neither seemed to exhibit much insight about today’s media landscape.

Doug Bailey, who worked for President Gerald Ford (and later went on to found National Journal’s Hotline), joined former Jimmy Carter strategist Gerald Rafshoon for a lively chat about the 1976 campaign. (The panel was very Hotline-heavy, with Editor in Chief Chuck Todd serving as moderator.)

You see, according to Bailey and Rafshoon, it was the new medium of television that began to really change politics. They see the 2008 presidential election being the equivalent watershed moment.

As much as I enjoyed hearing war stories from the 1976 campaign, I found the advice of Jacki Schechner more useful. Schechner is the Internet report for CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Wolf Blitzer’s program, which often features HUMAN EVENTS Editor Terry Jeffrey.

Schechner said what most impresses her about blogs and message boards is the opportunity they afford citizens to talk back. TV, on the other hand, is a one-way medium. I couldn’t agree more, and that’s why I hope to soon move our blogs interactive—giving you, the reader, an opportunity to make this a two-way conversation.

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Written By

Mr. Bluey, a contributing editor to Human Events, is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com.

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