Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press

Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press

by Eric Boehlert
     
 

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Ever since radio entered the American private home, technology has shaped political campaign strategy. Radio brought candidates more intimately and vividly into citizens' lives than newspapers could. The televised presidential debate of 1960 -- in which a strapping John F. Kennedy embarrassed a clammy Richard M. Nixon -- was technology's next coup. In the last decade,

Overview

Ever since radio entered the American private home, technology has shaped political campaign strategy. Radio brought candidates more intimately and vividly into citizens' lives than newspapers could. The televised presidential debate of 1960 -- in which a strapping John F. Kennedy embarrassed a clammy Richard M. Nixon -- was technology's next coup. In the last decade, though, it is the internet that has radically changed the way that candidates campaign: social networking sites, YouTube, and blogs have become important vehicles for political activism. And the grand editorial and political power that this group -- the "netroots," as bloggers call it -- wields has never been more apparent than in the groundbreaking 2008 presidential election.

Bloggers on the Bus traces the online events that rocked the campaign trail and reveals the untold stories of the internet activists who made them all possible. In the tradition of Timothy Crouse's classic, The Boys on the Bus, Bloggers on the Bus investigates the cutting edge of liberal politics to reveal the stories and scandals at its very heart. The cast includes everyone from former professional rock saxophonist John Amato who, years before YouTube, changed blogging forever by unleashing his TiVo and figuring out how to post TV clips online, to sixty-something Oakland housewife Mayhill Fowler, who joined the Huffington Post as a volunteer journalist and went on to break two of the biggest stories of the Democratic primary. Boehlert tells the story of acerbic West Coast blogger Digby, whose gender shocked the male-dominated blogosphere, as well as that of graphic tech Philip de Vellis, who culture-jacked an iconic Apple ad in order to create the infamous "Vote Different" video that influenced the Democratic primary. These are just a few of the bloggers pioneering the major shift in today's media who are profiled in Bloggers on the Bus. All of their efforts have set off an industry-wide debate about journalism and privacy and have permanently altered the character of campaign strategy.

Using the 2008 presidential race as a dramatic backdrop, Boehlert details the myriad ways these bloggers influenced both the candidates and their campaigns, while also chronicling the bitter blogger civil war that erupted during the contentious Democratic primary season. Offering unprecedented portraits of these new power brokers, Bloggers on the Bus goes behind the scenes to chronicle a media and political rebellion in the making.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Award winning journalist Boehlert (Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush) introduces the new generation of political muckrakers who took the 2008 presidential campaign-and old guard, by-the-numbers reporting-by storm. From the banner names of newly minted powerhouse The Huffington Post to the vitriol dished out by established liberal outposts like The Daily Kos, Boehlert presents a Web's-eye-view of the American left's grand reawakening. The netroots, as they became known, "literally kept the lights on during a very dark period for liberals"; prominent blogger Digby puts it more bluntly: "The Internet became available just as American politics turned bat shit crazy." That craziness only accelerated through the presidential campaign, including the polarizing campaign of Hillary Clinton, Obama calling small-town Pennsylvanians "bitter," and the entire shock-and-awry VP candidacy of Sarah Palin. Boehlert also examines the use and misuse of social networking sites like MySpace, and some seismic changes in televised news (including mainstream media's biggest new star, unlikely MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow). Blogger Markos describes his site as "a place for passionate activists, not conflict-averse weenies"; Boehlert illustrates that ethos well in this opinionated, impossible to put down narrative, chronicling with cagey insider detail the failures of copycat reporting and the inspired citizen-journalists picking up the slack.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher
“This opinionated, impossible to put down narrative, chronicl[es] with cagey insider detail the failures of copycat reporting and the inspired citizen-journalists picking up the slack.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416560357
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
05/19/2009
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
484 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Boehlert, an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about media and politics, is a senior fellow for Media Matters for America and the author of Lapdog: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush. A former writer for Salon and Rolling Stone, he lives with his wife and two children in Montclair, New Jersey.

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