Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
By now it's become a tired cliche that independent voices, granted new power and tools by technology, have up-ended traditional public discourse, challenging both media institutions and politicians seeking to control the message.
Still, as with many cliches, there's a good deal of truth to it. There are two excellent examples at hand just now.
One is the video that attacks Hillary Rodham Clinton as an Orwellian "Big Sister." It was put up on YouTube by a Barack Obama supporter and has become quite the phenomenon as word spreads via blogs and mainstream news outlets. Yet another example of the difficulty candidates have in controlling the messages of their own campaigns.
The other is happening right now at TPM Muckraker, a Web outlet published by TalkingPointsMemo.com. Blogs like these, of course, are a big part of the new media mix and these particular sites were way ahead of the bigger news organization in pursuing the U.S. attorney purge story.
Now they have taken the information devolution a step further by asking their readers to help read through and comment on the latest document dump in the case.
"Josh and I were just discussing how in the world we are ever going to make our way through 3,000 pages when it hit us: we don't have to. Our readers can help," writes reporter Paul Kiel.
It reminds me of the sign-off line used by the news reader at San Francisco's KFOG radio years ago: "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."
UPDATE: The maker of the anti-Hillary video, a consultant with ties to the Obama campaign, has been outed and has resigned.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.