Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Stop the presses: a politician lied!

What I find interesting about the dust up over NYC mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer's fairly minor lie on his blog is how it shows what happens when politicians try and use a medium they don't really get. Keeping a blog makes sense for a politician, it's a way of putting on a human face and letting your constituents see what you're thinking.

So Ferrer's campaign approached it like politicians approach most things, as a soft way to deliver campaign rhetoric pumped out by PR people and speech writers. It's done all the time. Someone on a mayor's staff says something that turns out not to be true, the other side complains, maybe it gets a little ink and everyone forgets about it.

But blogs are a new animal. A blog is sort of like a public diary, and you just don't expect people to lie in their diary, nor to have their flunkies write it for them. That's Ferrer's big lie, not saying he went to public schools, but saying, I am talking to you directly. But I suspect most politician's blogs are done the same way, and I expect more backfires to result. Jumping into the blogosphere for a politician is like buyilng a cute tiger cub; you have to understand that it's going to be a tiger and act appropriately. Sure, Bloomberg has manufactured this scandal with the help of a compliant media, but still, Ferrer walked right into it.

It's fortunate I don't have any strong objections to Bloomberg, who lacks the loathsomeness quality of Gulliani, because with Ferrer stumbling this early I'm wondering if he's got any chance at all.

1 comment:

  1. The way folks are falling over themselves to create blogs is rather amusing.

    The politicos think it's "hip" and shows that they are up on the latest tech.

    I would guess that even old Auntie Gert who has never touched a computer would see right through it as just another way for such folks to get more attention.

    Of course, this is all new and still evolving. We'll see if it turns out to be something more, but I'm skeptical that it would actually mean better communication between a politician and constituants.