Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dave Winer: fair and balanced?

It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say that Dave Winer invented RSS ("Rich Site" or "Real Simple" Syndication), the backbone of today's web in general and weblogs like this one in particular. His own weblog - Scripting News - is a good read and shows up in my feed readers.

Dave, like Doc Searls, is a mentor to me about how to use this new medium to effectively contribute opinion. Like me they're both technologists with a wider interest in the world at large and not just the technology facet. They both often opine on matters of a political nature. You can see their influence on my blog, which I hope of course represents my own unique perspective which is influenced by but not equivalent to Dave's and Doc's.

So not surprisingly, lately Dave's been blogging about Sarah Palin. The first one I read had (what was to me) a novel take on the implication of the Palin selection. The basic theses (in typical blogging fashion, these are quotes Dave pulled from other sites), which is that Palin is congruent with working class values (note: not issues) in key states OH and PA; that she represents the next iteration of Reagan's "Morning in America" and "small-town values"; and finally that the Palin selection is intended to be the vanguard of an full-press attempt to swift-boat Obama as a true agent of change, rather than Washingtonian-by-way-of-Daley's-Chicago business-as-usual.

Not all of these opinions (or opinionators) represent Dave's (and my) own pro-Obama point of view, unless he's also a glass-half-empty sort like I am and is really worried about the course this election might take.

Dave's very next Palin post in contrast was almost entirely his own words. It's about the media reaction to Palin and (in Dave's words) the media suddenly growing "a backbone" and challenging the received McCain narrative of the Palin selection. Interesting, and (if Winer is correct) a bit scary since one of his ideas about why this might be the case is that they weren't included in the vetting process through leaks and the resulting complex of psychosocial and psychopolitical feedback loops in the sense of the 21st century electronic media milieu where the media oligarchs play a critical gatekeeper role.

I'll close with a Palin bonus link (thanks to Doc Searls for this stylistic tool!).