Not politics as usual

09/26/2007

How is the rise of online media affecting political advertising? The crowd at the Tuesday afternoon session at MIXX 2.7 got very different answers, depending on who was doing the talking. Jack Shafer, editor at large of the pioneering online magazine Slate, was the moderator. He stated flatly that, "2008 is going to be the Internet election," before allowing that he has made identical claims for every presidential election since 1996. Panelist Arianna Huffington, columnist and founder of the Huffington Post, suggested that more advertising dollars weren't flowing to the Web because old-style political consultants were accustomed to their plush commissions for expensive broadcast and cable television buys. Political consultant Robert T. Shepardson, who is advising the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., injected a note of skepticism into the proceedings. While saying the Web is an excellent medium for organizing and fund-raising, it is "struggling with persuasiveness," and not a useful way to convince undecided voters. Huffington expressed some frustration that the medium is not being used in more innovative ways. Shepardson noted, "It is hard to be funky from a messaging point of view when you're talking about the war in Iraq and health care."

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