Hillary Clinton from the beginning of this campaign has boasted about her long years on the planet/ her experience, but it has occurred to me that because of those long years, co-habiting with her 'control freak 'personality, she still doesn't understand, fathom or trust the internet.
The Clintons have always seemed ambivalent, (and that is being generous) about the net. The Clinton administration in 1995, in their long report on the internet cited:
""The Internet has become one of the major and most dynamic modes of communication. The Internet can link people, groups and organizations together instantly. Moreover, it allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated (emphasis added) data and information to be located in one area and available to all. The right wing has seized upon the Internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people. Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the Internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information."
Then after Matt Drudge leaked a story of the Monica Lewinsky affair which the New York Times refused to publish, Hillary said, in 1998: "We are all going to have to rethink how we deal with this, because there are all these competing values." According to a Reuters report, in defending her husband aginst the Monica rumors) she deplored the fact that the internet lacks "any kind of editing function or gatekeeping function."
Ever wonder why you can't access certain political sites on a public library computer for example, because a word some words such as homosexual, or hetrosexual for that matter, has appeared on those sites before? Well we all owe this to, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)-- introduced by its sponsor, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an bill which became a law that denied federal Internet access subsidies to schools and libraries unless they installed software filters to restrict access to "inappropriate" information, signed by Bill Clinton in 2000 and which the Supreme Court upheld in 2003, after the ACLU contested it.
These are the same software filters ... which almost always refuse to disclose complete lists of sites they block, and often restrict access to any reference to homosexuality, feminism, drug use, criminal activity and - of course - negative product reviews.
Not only do some of these products block access to Web sites that provide information that can be found in school textbooks, the filters often block access to Web conference boards, Usenet newsgroups and even e-mail, if a letter is deemed to contain an offending word.
We don't need government regulation or censorware in schools to help us find the truth. We have a gatekeeping function already - our ability to decide for ourselves.
It's not the Internet that needs rethinking - the Internet works fine. What needs rethinking is the drive toward closing gates, when what we need is to open them.
But try telling that conclusion to the John McCains or Hillary Clintons of this world.
Frank Rich, in today's New York Times, chronicles how inept Hillary and her campaign were at handling the Bosnia sniper story and how she and her team still don't understand that their brand of top-down retail politics has become outdated in 2008, in the age of the internet...
When Michael Dobbs fact-checked it for The Post last weekend and proclaimed it (the Bosnia sniper story) worthy of "four Pinocchios," her campaign pushed back. The Clinton camp enforcer Howard Wolfson phoned in to "Morning Joe" on MSNBC Monday and truculently quoted a sheaf of news stories that he said supported her account. Only later that day, a full week after her speech, did he start to retreat, suggesting it was "possible" she "misspoke" in the "most recent instance" of her retelling of her excellent Bosnia adventure.
The Bosnia anecdote was part of her prepared remarks, scripted and vetted with her staff. Not that it mattered anymore.
But this event may be a watershed for two other reasons that have implications beyond Mrs. Clinton's character and candidacy, spilling over into the 2008 campaign as a whole. It reveals both the continued salience of that supposedly receding issue, the Iraq war, and the accelerating power of viral politics, as exemplified by YouTube, to override the retail politics still venerated by the Beltway establishment.
That Mrs. Clinton's campaign kept insisting her Bosnia tale was the truth two days after The Post exposed it as utter fiction also shows the political perils of 20th-century analog arrogance in a digital age. Incredible as it seems, the professionals around Mrs. Clinton -- though surely knowing her story was false -- thought she could tough it out. They ignored the likelihood that a television network would broadcast the inevitable press pool video of a first lady's foreign trip -- as the CBS Evening News did on Monday night -- and that this smoking gun would then become an unstoppable assault weapon once harnessed to the Web.
It had more YouTube views than the inflammatory Wright sermons, more than even the promotional video of Britney Spears making her latest "comeback" on a TV sitcom. It was as this digital avalanche crashed down that Mrs. Clinton, backed into a corner, started offering the alibi of "sleep deprivation". The Clinton campaign's cluelessness about the Web has been apparent from the start, and not just in its lagging in fundraising.
A new bottom-up media culture is challenging any candidate's control of a message.
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