Democrats detest the "new media," while Republicans love it and use it to their advantage...
Beginning with the travails of " Former congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.), Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), and former president Bill Clinton," who "had a televised temper fit when an interviewer challenged his terrorism record...
All three episodes..., were in their own ways signs of the unruly new age in American politics. Each featured an arresting personal angle. Each originally percolated in the world of new media -- Web sites and news outlets that did not exist a generation ago -- before charging into the traditional world of newspapers and television networks. In each case, the accusations quickly pivoted into a debate about the motivations and alleged biases of the accusers..."
And deservedly so, considering the timing of release of information and the short span of time left before a national election.
"Cumulatively, the stories highlight a new brand of politics in which nearly any revelation in the news becomes a weapon or shield in the daily partisan wars, and the aim of candidates and their operatives is not so much to win an argument as to brand opponents as fundamentally unfit.
In interviews, figures as diverse as Clinton, Vice President Cheney and White House strategist Karl Rove spoke about their experiences navigating the highly polarized and often downright toxic political and media environment that blossomed in the 1990s and reached full flower in recent years. Their comments, and those of their associates, underscore just how dramatically changes in media culture have influenced the strategies and daily routines of leading political figures..."
Comments have been made that describe "a changed media culture that creates new perils for politicians also provides new forms of refuge. For a full generation on the conservative side, and more recently among liberals, ideologues have created a menu of new media alternatives, including talk radio and Web sites... New media platforms make criticism of traditional "mainstream media" part of their stock in trade.
This development usually ensures that any politician in trouble can count on some sympathetic forums to make his or her case. It often ensures that any controversy is marked by intense disagreement over the basic facts or relevance of the story, and obscured by clouds of accusation over the opposition's motives..."
Ken Mehlman, the RNC chairman and head of Bush's reelection campaign, said his operatives leaked to Drudge because it inevitably drove wider coverage, including to old media organizations: "He puts something up and they have to follow it..."
One of those who salutes the changing landscape -- with as much passion as Clinton deplores it -- is Cheney, who said he considers the breakdown of what he called an old media "monopoly" as among the most favorable trends of his years in politics. He said the change requires politicians to grow a thicker skin..."
You can read the entire piece at the above WaPo link.