Broadcast Politics

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-02-10 Print this article Print

: Were Mad as Hell"> Of course, Trippi then tarred the mainstream media with the "broadcast-politics" brush, charging the networks with purveying entertainment, not information, with 933 replays of Deans infamous scream speech. To Trippi, what the media did in taking the speech out of context was damaging—"not what the Governor did." Sorry, Joe. Even on a 1-inch cellular phone screen tuned to MSNBC at 1 frame per second, I knew that Dean was in trouble when he hit that part of his "concession" speech. It wasnt the technology that was betraying him; it was simple tunnel vision, a purely political miscalculation about who the audience was. Sure, Dean was pumping up the troops, but somehow he forgot that the little red light means the speech is being broadcast to a much different audience.
Its the same myopia that Microsoft has suffered from, where the companys behavior is judged not just by its technical acuity but by the reality of its market position, the history of platform lock-in, the very success of their extension of their monopoly power. Trippis success in harnessing the Internet platform scared the daylights out of the entrenched stakeholders—not just the Democratic Party regulars but the mainstream media and its threatened revenue model.
Its not the technology, stupid. Its the battle for control of digital rights management that is roiling the three parties—Republican, Democrat and media. Trippi is essentially warning us about the emergence of a new military-industrial complex, where the notion of a one-party system now includes the Fifth Estate. While Kerry rolls up delegates in offline "meatspace," onliners are choosing between a different slate of candidates. Steve Jobs is the insurgent here, promising to take back control of Washington on the Pacific (Hollywood) by jettisoning its relationship with Disney. Kerry, er, Disney promptly counters with a digital media alliance with Microsoft. Next page: biting the hand that feeds you.

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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