Peter Jaworski of The Western Standard sent around an e-mail yesterday to a number of folks who have been especially prominent in the 2008 Canadian Federal election campaign's "blogging follies"--the outing of candidates for writings on their blog. He asked us:
"I'm beginning to get the sense that candidates being forced to resign thanks to the efforts of bloggers like yourselves is the major issue in this election. It isn't the Green Shift, it isn't any substantive policy issue; it's candidates getting busted for saying things that maybe they shouldn't have said, or putting six too many joints in their mouth on YouTube, or wondering out loud about what "really" caused 9/11 etc.
Do you agree?
And: What is the significance of all the candidates that have been forced to resign thanks to past blogging/online activities?"
Our responses can be found here.
Just to add to the material at WS, I would say that I fully agree with R. Jago's remark:
The parties should have prepared these people better. But they haven't & together with the sub-standard vetting, and the ignorance of new media, we in the blogosphere are reaping the rewards.
It won't happen next time.
In fact I am not sure we will see too many more gaffe induced resignations during the remainder of the 2008 campaign. You can already see the Party Leaders becoming more thick skinned about the on-line screw-ups of their candidates (witness Jack Layton's refusal to dump Andrew McKeever), and in any case there are only so many people left to investigate.
Also, I should point out that what you are seeing in the political sphere with all of this on-line sleuthing is only one aspect of a wider social phenomenon. If you go for a job interview, or attempt to sell something to another company, don't be surprised if the folks you are dealing with troll Youtube looking for videos of you getting drunk and whipping your top off, or search the various on-line forums for people trash-talking your product. I know because its an aspect of what I do in real life.
A mis-handled blog can be a drag on more than just your political career.
PS. If anyone knows of Tory/NDP blogging candidates that have so far evaded the blogosphere's free vetting service, please send me a few links.
Check out Buckets and me on Peter Kent (Toronto Thornhill)and the "Canadian Coalition for Democracies" connection.
That's post number two for today, with a we bit of new info.
I'd like to see more discussion on the relationship of these gaffes to substantive issues of democratic governance and politics. I've found most of these gotcha's to be childish and vindictive (not that I haven't enjoyed some of them) but when bloggers start making portentous claims about their impact on media and politics, I start to worry, especially when a virtual sausage-fest is organised and all y'all start patting yourselves on the back.
Andrew McKeever is vile, and should be gone, and worse, I think, in a different way, than the Con in Toronto, they let go.
but when bloggers start making portentous claims about their impact on media and politics, I start to worry
I start to laugh. What's funnier though is when the right whingers howl that the media they despise won't give them the credit they believe should be theirs.
They've endorsed candidates here and there (a couple in Winnipeg) but I don't know that they've given a full list this time out, at least not yet.
By the way, nice of Matthew Good to maintain he'll have nothing to do with The Western Standard. Given that it's featuring Adam Yoshida and that weird little stoat, Kathy Shaidle (she's recently written a horror...it's called...*gasp*... The Nicening), it's nice to see some people still have principles.
I know they're trying to clean up their act, but they have to do better.
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