Apparently, losses yesterday in New Jersey and Virginia mean that the Progressive Majority James Carville predicted -- built a year ago on the backs of Obama's zealous Facebooking young voters -- has nose dived one year after the country's historic election. For those who don't put much weight, however, on the traditional rules of the game: It's clear that as a country we've returned to the pre-2008 narrative, despite compelling examples from countless young activists that grassroots-netroots organizing persists.
What has changed is the communications model that surrounds our efforts. If rogue viral video bloggers and Iowa-embedded tweeters led the news cycle in 2008, the MSM is back in 2009. The Obama administration, despite its hipster Flickr feed and weekly YouTube address, has presented a television-driven strategy, ceding a great deal of its street cred with the president's digital Millennial generation base.
Who fills this gap? Beyond apathetic conjecture, it's been up to Jon Stewart and FunnyOrDie.com to keep the kids engaged. Real journalists and concerned academics often scoff at this 'infotainment' model, but story telling of this nature tends to resonate.
On Sunday I gathered together a few of my colleagues who work in the infotainment space to discuss the role their craft has played and will continue to play in the growing momentum of the generation's political coming-of-age. Check out the panel discussion, which took place at Living Liberally's The Tank, featuring Baratunde Thurston (The Onion, Jack & Jill Politics), Katie Halper (Huffington Post), Matt Hooper ("Life is Cause"), Michael Skolnik (GlobalGrind.com) and moderated by Ari Melber (The Nation).
Obviously it would be crass for the White House to operate on the same level as College Humor. However, it would be exciting to see the ground-breaking Obama new media team make an effort to push the boundaries in this realm of their strategy.
Of course, the onus is also on members of the generation to embrace our entrepreneurial spirit and initiate from within the types of communications that will further our issues. We can't expect hand-holding from our fearless leaders, especially when we are often the experts in these emerging mediums.
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