Who Will Lead 2010's Political News Cycle: MSM, Bloggers or @PressSec?

04/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's been almost a week since Press Secretary Robert Gibbs delivered one of his first game-changing tweets:

@PressSec wow - in a less than 30 hours almost 17K of you are following - amazing - watch out Kim Kardashian! Thanks to all for the smart tips!

Has the world changed? Not yet, but does this kind of action say that the Obama Administration is trying to recapture some of the enthusiasm of social media it bottled so effectively during the election of 2008? On today's Wilshire & Washington, we have two great guests with incredible insight into the White House's mounting new media comeback: Greg Mitchell, the former editor of Editor & Publisher, and Megan Carpentier, a commentator you've seen featured on sites like Jezebel, Air America, the Washington Independent, and The Guardian.

First, we tackle the reasons why Twitter can be a successful political tool: It can provide instant corrections to media misfires and it can fill the personality gap between press releases and tailored remarks, particularly for netroots and rightroots bloggers craving the type of access the MSM elites enjoy in the briefing room. However, can it reconnect the Obama administration with the blogosphere that supported him so passionately?

Filling in for our usual moderator, Ted Johnson, co-host Maegan Carberry shares an intriguing story about how disappointed a lot of Obama's staff were upon arrival to learn that they couldn't incorporate social media into their communications strategy because of national security reasons. Do these disclosure setbacks, authored before the new media era, mean campaign 2010 (and Team O's attempt at governing!) might continue to struggle to reach the younger demographic and blogosphere, as we saw in 2009? Can the DNC step up to manage what David Plouffe, et al achieved in 2008? Will this mean this year's new media stories will be about the Republican digital revolution?

We also discuss what's been driving the news cycles, before and after the campaign. Some have argued that Team Obama was ahead of the MSM in '08 with the help of netroots and direct-to-grassroots social media, but that the MSM set the tone of coverage in 2009, featuring more traditional narratives of partisan gridlock. Who will set the tone of the news cycle in this midterm elections year, in which the MSM, blogosphere and administration are poised to triangulate on the issues? The average voter has so many information outlets to choose from (MSM, bloggers, direct on, who can he or she rely on in this type of media environment?

Listen to the show here, subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or use the Blog Talk Radio player:

Wilshire & Washington, the weekly Blog Talk Radio program that explores the intersection of politics, entertainment, and new media, features co-hosts Ted Johnson, Managing Editor of Variety; conservative blogger Teresa Valdez Klein (, and liberal blogger Maegan Carberry ( The show airs every Wednesday at 7:30am PST on