Friday, June 29, 2007

Which matters more: what happened or what people believe happened?

As I watched last night's Democratic debate I saw no clear winner, but comparing candidate web site coverage, I declare Richardson's campaign the hands-down winners.

Candidates with debate coverage on their home page

The good
Bill Richardson, debate photo with caption: "Strong Debate Performance" followed by "Governor Richardson showed once again that he is the candidate with the boldest vision and strongest record to lead America forward." [This was not at all my take on the debate, which makes front paging this an even smarter move; the Richardson campaign clearly understands the value of spin and the reach of the web.] Blog: video clips (no clip transcript or recap).

Dennis Kucinich, excerpts from press release, positive remarks from Donna Brazile, and a link to a transcript (text only). [Excerpts from his blog are the bulk of his home page; not recommended, but it does keep his front page up-to-the-minute.]

Joe Biden, good one-liner overshadowed by photo/spin of previous debate.

The bad
John Edwards and Mike Gravel both refer to the debate as if it hasn't happened yet. Whoops.

[edited 7/2 to add: most of the home pages noted above have changed by now.]

How'd the others do with their blogs?

Chris Dodd was the clear winner. His campaign posted a video (with transcript) of his best answer.

Hillary Clinton: encouraged supporters to chat/cheer during the debate then wisely edited the original post to excerpt positive press quotes.

John Edwards: lively group commenting during debate; no campaign perspective.

Barack Obama: one post buried in fundraising pitches.

The ugly truth
This kind of web coverage is not the best money can buy, but it's the best money is buying. Politcal use of the web has become much more prevalent since 2004, but the message is still mostly lost in a tangle of technology.

--Louella Pizzuti

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