Thursday, January 10, 2008

Glassbooth, Project VoteSmart, and ForwardTrack

An admission: I have no idea what the MSM (mainstream media) is saying about anything. I'm out of touch, at best. Certainly if I assume that other people still pay attention to the MSM. My political news comes from a handful of influential (if not mainstream blogs), the links and clips those blogs post from the MSM, listening (half-dazedly) to NPR in the morning, and occasional perusals of the NYT and Washington Post websites.

I note this as set-up to two points. First, in the wake of Clinton's New Hampshire win, I've seen a lot of second-guessing, back-tracking, and finger-pointing, on blogs and online sources, trying to figure out how the mainstream media and pollsters "got it so wrong." Among the speculative threads tied to this that I find curious are the notion that the MSM abdicated its responsibility to be faithful reporters of political news in favor of hyping narratives (Obama's running away with it! Clinton '08 is broke and in disarray! Hillary's a cry baby!) that, well, weren't actually that true.

More interesting is the notion that, deciding to continually whack Hillary, in columns, on talk shows, in debates, the MSM actually created a pro-Hillary groundswell of people who were, at some level, voting against the MSM's gleefully misogynistic biases. Not that its news, but its interesting that the MSM still plays a role in shaping the outcomes of campaign, but instead of being able to influence outcomes consistent with their perspective, people may be so fed up with the Chris Matthews' and O'Reilly's of the world, that the MSM is causing shifts in opposition to their perspective. Speculative, sure, but it would be great if it were true. Because it would be deserved, those solipsistic, self-serving bastards!

As for me, I'm sure for many others. The MSM has become almost irrelevant, and my political information comes from the "new media." I don't know if that's good -- am I getting better information or more insightful analysis? Or am I just getting it from people who aren't charismatic to have their own TV show?

Whatever the case, there is a wealth of great resources being made available to help better understand candidates and make informed choices. Are people using them? I don't know. Should they? Yes, I think so.

PK recommends (and I second), which has a great quiz for aligning your values to a candidate -- and then digging further into the records of candidates (apparently I'm a Kucinich man, but Obama and Edwards are considered acceptable choices, too).

A colleague forwarded Project VoteSmart, a little more red-white-and-blue, but still nice to have.

And related to the political arena, Forward Track, which made a nice splash in the 2004 election cycle, which helps you track political activism and donations, with very rich data and nice interfaces for exploration.


rone said...

Also see and

rone said...

Also, the MSM widely reported Clinton's victory in NH even though she and Obama were tied for the lead. I found that one puzzling.