NDN Blog

Video in Politics: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Three stories about political video in its various forms.  From the established media format of the political ad, as produced by the DSCC, to the new, potentially viral video of George Allen, to the legally murky status of the 'VNR,' here is how video continues to play an important role in the new politics.  

The DSCC has released a new ad Secure, undercutting Republican rhetoric on homeland security.  Note the alternating examples of debacles abroad: too few troops in Iraq, failure to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, and shortcomings at home: cuts in law enforcement budgets, lax port security, etc.

Republican Senator (and potential 2008 Presidential candidate) George Allen released a much less targeted piece of media yesterday.  At a campaign rally in Southwest VA, Allen singled out S.R. Sidarth, an Indian-American campaign aide to Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb, calling Sidarth "macaca" and offering a sarcastic "welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."  Sidarth was born and raised in Fairfax County, VA and it'll be interesting to see how this "macaca" comment plays in Iowa or in the DSCC's next ad.

The Center for Media and Democracy has released a report on what are called 'video news releases' or VNRs.  VNRs are fake news pieces produced by corporations, and it is illegal to air them without disclosing their source.  The report found 77 examples of local television stations violating this law, triggering an FCC investigation.  The corporations producing these VNRs must be taking cues from the Bush administration, which produced its own fake news stories, until the GAO declared them "illegal covert propaganda."  

Lots of Immigrants. Get Used to It.

New Census Bureau stats on immigrants are  much covered in this morning's news, and take top billing on the front page of the Times. Numbers are up in the usual places. But politically the most intriguing data seems to show that immigrant levels are rising in less expected corners of the country:

Indiana saw a 34 percent increase in the number of immigrants; South Dakota saw a 44 percent rise; Delaware 32 percent; Missouri 31 percent; Colorado 28 percent; and New Hampshire 26 percent. “It’s the continuation of a pattern that we first began to see 10 or 15 years ago,” said Jeff Passel, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, who has examined the new census data. “But instead of being confined to areas like the Southeast, it’s beginning to spill over into some Midwestern states, like Indiana and Ohio. It’s even moving up into New England.”

The Bureau lets you play around with the data in various ways here. You never know. If immigration continues rising in New Hampshire at this sort of rate, perhaps the nation's first primary competition will not always be dominated by white, rural libertarians after all. 


Rallying the Democratic Base

The Post today covers the slow downfall of Republican incumbents in the Northeast, a sign for optimism for Democrats this fall. Says Rep. Jim Gerlach of suburban Philadelphia of his party's predicament:

"It is a combination of things, from the war in Iraq to gas prices to what they are experiencing in their local areas."

A multitude of issues, all seeming to make the R into a scarlet letter, like Michael Steele suggested. It also curiously coincides with some observations made by NPI Fellow Ruy Teixiera in his study of exurbia. Things are certainly changing, just how much we'll find out in November.

Telephia Study: 34.6 Million Users Browsed Web on Mobile Phones in June 2006

As cross posted in a tech blog I run called mobile democracy, new data is out today from research company Telephia shows that today, over 81% of Internet users have phones capable of browsing the web using the latest Web mobile standards . And that currently about 34.6 million users browsed the web in June using mobile phones.

Read their press release from Telephia research here, but some here are some highlights…

The most popular sites browsed over phones are as you might expect (weather, mail, search and local info)…but also news with CNN being the 8th most popular mobile site seeing almost 2.8 million mobile users in June.

Top Mobile Websites for June 2006 (U.S.)

Mobile Website Unique Audience (000) Reach of Subscribers

1. Yahoo! Mail 6,531 3.0%
2. The Weather Channel
(Weather.com) 5,827 2.7%
3. ESPN 5,345 2.5%
4. Google Search 4,356 2.0%
5. MSN Hotmail 3,441 1.6%
6. MapQuest 3,067 1.4%
7. AOL Mail 2,907 1.4%
8. CNN 2,799 1.3%
9. Yahoo! Weather 2,740 1.3%
10. Yahoo! Search 2,531 1.2%
Source: Telephia Mobile Internet Report, June 2006

The release also says:

‘As xHTML-MP support becomes more widespread, mobile consumers will have greater access to richer presentation of content on their phones,’ added Brenner.”


Liberal Bloggers Are Closet New Dems. Discuss.

TNR's Noam Schreiber's can't exactly be accused of trying to build bridges between his magazine and its blogging critics. His latest collumn accuses Lamont supporters and associated bloggers of being - gasp! - secrret New Democrats. Schreiber is a talented writer, and his case is worth reading, especially for the links to research by PEW looking at self-identified political tribes within the two parties:

An interesting thing happened between 1999 and 2005, when Pew conducted another detailed analysis of the electorate: The New Democrats had entirely disappeared as a group while the liberals had doubled in size. The strong implication was that the New Democrats had been driven into the liberal camp by the extremism of the Bush administration. .... Of course, there are other reasons affluent Democrats might have moved leftward on economics in recent years. Certainly the consequences of globalization--outsourcing, the decline of traditional pensions, et cetera--have raised voters' economic anxieties. But, as a group, the former New Democrats tend to be more insulated from these trends than most. They are, by and large, still society's success stories. As such, they generally benefit from a smaller and leaner (though nonetheless active) government, which suggests to me that Bush is behind most of the group's leftward drift.

Schreiber's ultimatel conclusion is, it seems to me, less good. He seems unable to avoid taking a rather odd pot-shot at Libertarians (via, predictably, a Daily Kos post.) Instead, what seems to me to follow from his piece is much more interesting. Kos and his allies, as exemplified in Crashing the Gates, always have shown a pragmatic, heterodox "winning is what matters" streak, contrary to many of their more orthodox liberal followers. This pragmatic approach to politics used to be wholly owned by the centrist Dems. Thus, is it too much of a stretch to say that while moderate "New Democrat" politics has been on the backfoot in oppostion, that the Lamont-ites might find it more palatable as a governing philosophy when the Dems return to power?

Ahmadinejad's Blog: More "Death to the Infidels," Less "CT-Sen"

Looking for a blog that talks about what you can do to help wipe Israel off the map?  Need more information on Iran's "civilian nuclear energy program"?  Or maybe you are just looking for some nostalgic tales of the glory days of the Islamic Revolution.  Well look no further, because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched his own blog.

The first post clocked in at over 2000 words, but President Ahmadinejad said that "With hope in God, I intend to wholeheartedly complete my talk in future with allotted 15 minutes."  I left a comment saying that in the next post he should just give us his quick take on the days top stories published in the government-controlled press.  At least it wouldn't be another politician complaining about how his message is filtered by the media.  And if President Ahmadinejad can't bring more brevity to www.ahmadinejad.ir I think it would be appropriate for the UN Security Council to impose some kind of sanctions.  After all, it is up to the civilized world to make sure a powerful weapon like a blog is not abused by a madman. 

NDN in the News

Simon was quoted in Dan Balz's interesting take on the Lieberman race, in Saturday's Post.

Simon Rosenberg, founder of the Democratic group NDN that has sought to be a bridge between centrist Democrats and the more liberal world of bloggers and Internet activists, said: "Lieberman's calculation here that there is a revulsion against Washington is not correct. There's revulsion at Republican governance."

Immigration Reform: Not Dead?

Pence-Hutchison might sound like a character from a British colonial novel, but the Washington post thinks it might just be the last, best hope for Immigration reform.

Pence-Hutchison concentrates on benchmarks tied to resources and capabilities: hiring more agents, increasing detention capacity and making certain that employers poised to hire immigrant workers have a reliable system (secure identification cards, accurate databases) to verify eligibility. Postponing the rest of reform for two years while these goals are met isn't ideal, but it's a reasonable compromise.

The as-yet-unwritten proposals from this Texan / Indianan Senatorial Team is
gathering a moderate head of steam. But, intriguingly, there still seems to be little agreement amongst conservatives about its merits. The American Spectator, for instance, seems to like the smell of it. The National Review doesn't: they "aren’t persuaded that the country needs a guest-worker program to begin with." If the President's backers can't figure out which strip of reform they like, the likelyhood of compromise is greatly lessened. And, in the end, it is the GOP who lose most if no reform is passed. Perhaps they haven't figured that one out yet?



Outsourcing Fails to Destroy America Shock

If the past is any guide to the present, then scaremongering over outsourcing will increase as we get closer to the November elections. As polling day approaches, any candidate seeking a few extra votes is more likely to throw their lot in with Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs, Lyndon LaRouche and the wild-eyed hairy man on the street corner in predicting the swift economic collapse of the American economy due to foreign competition. All the more reason, then, to read this sane, interesting article by Daniel Gross in the sunday Times business section. Gross uses the story of Greg Manciw's public defenestration two years ago,

Economists have also found that jobs or sectors susceptible to outsourcing aren’t disappearing. Quite the opposite.... in recent years there has been greater job insecurity in the tradable job categories. But they [Economists] also concluded that jobs in those industries paid higher wages, and that tradable industries had grown faster than nontradable industries. “That could mean that this is our competitive advantage,” Mr. Jensen says. “In other words, what the U.S. does well is the highly skilled, higher-paid jobs within those tradable services.”

Look out for that one on the stump in the fall. You might be looking for a while.

Mobile Blogging

In another sign that world s of blogging and mobile media continue to merge, TypePad, one of the largest commercial blog hosts, just announced TypePad mobile. This is an application that runs on your mobile phone enabling an easier and quicker experience of posting blog entries, and uploading pictures directly from your mobile phone to your Typepad hosted blog.

Where a number of other blog solutions have supported web based mobile blog posting, this is one of the more advanced blogging native software applications that runs directly on your smartphone. Details and pictures over here...

-- Tim

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