Tuesday :: Jul 1, 2003

Forget the DNC; The Blogosphere Can Be the Truth Squad


by Steve

As you may remember, several weeks ago I suggested that the DNC develop a Truth Squad or Lies Bush Tells Us scorecard operation. As I envisioned it, the DNC would create a team of tech-savvy grad students led by a sharp political operative who would follow George W. Bush around the country to provide counterbalancing press conferences and media opportunities, pointing out the lies and actual record of Bush on the topic he was campaigning on. No matter where Bush would go, the DNC would send the Truth Squad operation to follow him, with the grad students pulling actual media stories and Bush quotes and actions off the web while they were enroute so that by the time Bush did his event, the DNC would have another event for the traveling White House press corps to cover in the same town, calling into question everything Bush said in that same news cycle. The DNC events would be “mouthpieced” by a freshfaced Democratic Senator or Representative, an up-and-comer, who would be good on TV, reading from the fresh material just pulled off the net by the tech geeks traveling with the squad on a Lear Jet paid for by a donor. These DNC counterspin events would be done in tandem with interest groups who could marry the DNC’s attack on Bush’s credibility with their own, so that the party would be seen building its linkages and base while going on the attack throughout the country following Bush around.

Needless to say, in the five weeks since I faxed this proposal to the DNC, I have heard nothing, even though I am a contributor to the DNC.

I have been contacted several times in the last twenty-four hours about how the blogosphere can do what the DNC has ignored. How can the blogosphere make the Truth Squad idea a quick-strike reference material vehicle? Since the DNC has not even responded to my original fax on the concept of them taking it on, I think the Blogosphere can do this. Billmon and his WMD quote database is all the proof you need to show that it can and will work.

My experience with reporters is that they are either lazy or plainly uninformed. Either way, I have achieved results whenever I have contacted them to complain about their pieces due to a lack of knowledge on their part. The GOP’s Mighty Wurlitzer during the 90’s fed the media with a steady stream of quotes, sources, and flat-out lies for them to print, which regrettably they did more often than not. Well, it is time that we do the same thing, sans the lies.

How can our community of blogs take on the task of developing a resource amongst the blogosphere where the bloggers and their participants themselves can be the Truth Squad? I am interested in the concept, although my technical knowledge of how to maximize it on my site is very limited. I have several ideas that I encourage you to review and suggest improvements upon.

The first required element would be for a group of bloggers to identify key topics and key blog contacts (i.e.-Bush and Medicare, Bush and Social Security, Bush on WMDs) amongst the blogosphere, and have the word put out that those key topic leaders are soliciting links and facts from readers and the databases (Google, Lexis/Nexis) that can be assembled into a ready-made source of quotes, actions, and past lies housed on that blog or blogs. For example, based on his recent success in nailing Bush’s ass to the wall on WMDs, Billmon could be one of the sources for the WMD material, as would Elvis56 at Lunaville.

The second required element would be for the assembling of an email list of pundits and bloggers, and most importantly national reporters who cover the White House and who would be traveling with Bush around the country. These distribution lists, which would include the editors of these reporters, would then be used by another group bloggers or readers, who would be the “spotters”, people whose job it would be to see in advance where the president was going that day, and to get a sense of what the President was going to talk about (like today’s pathetic appearance in Florida to talk about how great he was on Medicare.) These spotters would then send the pundits, columnists, reporters and editors the links to the databases along with a summary of Bush lies and failed commitments for them to have at their fingertips while Bush was spinning his audience. The reporters and their editors would then have the material for use and reference as they were filing their stories that night, or possibly for questioning the White House afterwards. The pundits and bloggers would also have the information as they were filing their posts and columns for the next day.

It would only take a couple of weeks for those out in the blogosphere to submit links, stories, and lies to the key topic leaders for assembly. Once that is done, those reference sources can be posted at numerous blogs for readers and blog hosters to grab and send to the media who are traveling with Bush, so that they are flooded with source material that cannot be ignored. For example, if we knew that Bush was going to be in Florida today to push Medicare, and already had a Medicare database of quotes, lies, broken promises, and flaws in the bills pending before Congress, a couple of bloggers could have sent that reference material to the national reporters with Bush today, or their editors tonight so that Bush's coverage would be colored against that background material.

Other bloggers can spend their time building a master list of key reporters by beat and topic area, so that the reference material can be sent to such a mailing list instantaneously in advance of Bush's future visits. For example, the next time Bush goes on a Medicare swing, the key reporters would already have our reference material at their fingertips.

These are just my preliminary ideas on how the power and quick-strike capability of the blogosphere and its readers can be used to do the work of the DNC to keep Bush accountable. Reporters, columnists, national bloggers, and pundits would be flooded with links and quotes that would undermine Bush’s credibility and message, much the way Billmon did on the WMD issue. And it could be done over and over again, as databases by topic area are built and added to by bloggers and readers.

Please weigh in with better ideas. But we can start now, parcel out the work amongst many bloggers, work cooperatively, and within weeks have an operation in place that would allow any of you to be your own Truth Squad. We cannot wait any longer for the DNC to act.

Imagine how much fun it would have been for many of you to send a link or links to the reporters covering the Bush swing through Florida today on his Medicare broken promises, his lies, and the gaps in the legislation that he was touting. Then think about how different the glowing stories would have looked tomorrow if you knew the reporters and columnists were provided with the facts, at their fingertips.

Do you want to change the coverage? Now is our chance.

Steve :: 9:33 PM :: Comments (62) :: Digg It!