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Archive for the ‘Digital Democracy’ Category

Timely with the upcoming elections is my 2008 blog about Negative Campaign Advertising. In these pages, I examine the effects of “Digital Democracy” in the mass media age. I compare articles, reference experts and provide examples of negative campaign advertising and the effect it has. I’ve also included some tips on how to run your campaign.

http://digitaldemocracynegativeads.wordpress.com/

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Since studying the government, campaign and citizen uses for “digital democracy” my previous perceptions have changed. The dynamic of just how impactful digital tools are is more robust than many people may perceive.

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Robert J. Klotz addresses many intriguing points in the “E-Government” chapter of his book, The Politics of Internet Communication.  The relatively recent marriage between the Internet and the American government has created a system in which citizens can easily access public documents and one in which U.S. presidents conscientiously avoid the use of e-mail. An underlying theme in the age of digital media, however, is the recurring need for real human interaction. This theme can be supported by the presence of a digital divide, as outlined by Andrew Chadwick in Internet Politics.

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“Government, the entertainment industry, and corporate America better get ready. The American people are going to learn how to organize themselves and then watch out.”  

− Joe Trippi

 

Political campaign manager and revolutionary Joe Trippi says it best on page 57 of his book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The Internet has brought about a means of digital advocacy that is disrupting established patterns of control and making it easier for groups of all sizes to have a voice, in contrast to the traditional top-down communication methods. As Robert J. Klotz examines in The Politics of Internet Communication, the Internet brings unparalleled benefits to interest group and political party advocates.

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In “Web Campaigning: Introduction and Overview” by Kirsten A. Foot and Steven Schneider, the foibles of U.S. political campaigns are exposed. These foibles are not the traditional snafus that make the news, rather they reflect new-age risks associated with the prevalence of digital media.

 

Digital technology has emerged as an important player in candidates’ political campaigns. In fact, the medium has developed into such a key aspect of democracy that entire job fields for e-politics campaign managers and brokers have emerged to help politicians shape their image, aid public affairs knowledge and capitalize on the new opportunities afforded. Through the aforementioned article and Philip Howard’s New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen, we gain insights into these areas and learn the new opportunities that the Web has created for business in politics. Even local companies have taken advantage of this free market.

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The effect of negative political campaign advertising has been questioned for decades. Following is an overview of two studies that seek to identify the role of such advertising and a glimpse at modern-day techniques used for measuring political messaging. Examples of current campaign advertising practices are included as well. The big picture suggests that while there may be some downfalls to negative advertising, campaigns will continue to utilize them.

 

The book Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Mass Media and Society offers two articles designed to show contrasting viewpoints regarding the role of negative campaign advertising. The article “An Exploration of the Effects of Negative Political Advertising on Political Decision Making” provides evidence that negative campaign advertising can cause certain negative effects. The article “Accentuating the Negative”argues that negative advertising has a secure place in political campaigns despite its effects. The editor’s choice of utilizing these particular articles to show the “yes” and “no” sides of negative campaign advertising is intriguing, as neither article whole-heartedly dismisses the use of negative campaigning. It would be a more compelling contrast if the two articles were absolutely polar in stance. 

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