Has the Right Ceded the Next Generation Internet to the Left?

In today's DC Examiner, Olbermann Watch blogger Bob Cox sounds the alarm against what he (correctly) perceives as the conservative movement's failure to sufficiently become involved in creating the next generation of the internet. Now that the web has become a commodity, most conservatives have given up trying to be technology leaders, effectively allowing the left to create and control all of the major "web 2.0" resources like Technorati, Wikipedia, YouTube, and others.

The failure of the Dean campaign has led too many conservatives to dismiss technology leadership as an overhyped part of a political campaign. But that's only half the story. In truth, superb technology can never compensate for a bad candidate, but it can sure do wonders for one. And as part of a larger overall popular movement, technology is vital. For too long, conservatives have stood outside society's institutions clamoring for change. Isn't it about time that we went in?

An excerpt from this must-read editorial:

In the waning days of Howard Dean’s abortive presidential campaign, I met many of the talented folks who played a role in turning the Dean Web site into a powerful fundraising tool that propelled an unknown candidate into the national spotlight. At various blogging conferences since, I have had the opportunity to observe many of these bright minds strategizing on how to best leverage the emerging world of blogs and other “social networking” services known as “Web 2.0” to advance their liberal political agenda and win elections.

Their common refrain: “We need to own the Internet the way the right owns talk radio.”

They got me wondering whether the online “conservative elite” was aware of what the left had in mind and, if so, whether they were concerned. During the past few years, I have had the opportunity to ask this of Internet specialists working on the Bush-Cheney campaign, top officials in the Republican National Committee, communications specialists at the White House and dozens of top conservative bloggers.

A-List blogger and talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt’s response was typical: “It doesn’t matter who creates the tools used by bloggers, but what bloggers do with those tools.”

When I suggested that ceding control of the major “nodes” in the online world to the left was a huge mistake, they were dismissive. It became clear they could not imagine one day finding themselves boxed out of what is fast becoming the biggest force in electoral politics.

Enter Fox News pundit, author and top-rated blogger Michelle Malkin. Last week she received notice from YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing service, that her video had been deemed “offensive.” The result? Her account was terminated and her videos deleted. [...]

Malkin may have been the first casualty in the coming information war but she certainly will not be the last. Yet online conservative elites seem not to care. They fail to realize that voters are increasingly accessing news and information from these new media sources and that these sources are using their editorial discretion to publish and promote a liberal — not conservative — agenda.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013