dirty laundry

how goes the struggle?

well, my inbox today brought this lovely photo:

and i thought, oh no. how could this possibly be? putting aside my ambivalence to the man as a presidential candidate, a sharp, politic person like barack obama would not possibly sanction something so incredibly horrific and disgusting on his election website, right?

it has, of course, since been taken down; and the only way to read it is via google cache.

but it made a person like me wonder: how the hell would this end up on a candidate’s site? (and, as a red sea pedestrian myself, i’m wondering: if there’s a vast tribal conspiracy, vis a vis the elders of zion, how come i am not getting my cut of the money? kidding, really kidding!!!!!! …although it is horrifying how many people — including the venerated henry ford — who believed/believe this stuff. to. this. very. day.)

apparently, the obama community blog is open to anyone. and this post is apparently cut and pasted from a site, realjewnews. ( i won’t even dignify it by linking to it, it is so full of trash.) (thanks to realclearpolitics for doing legwork on this.) apparently, having an open, interactive community is what the candidates are all about this season — former candidate clinton and mccain, too — including permitting anyone to blog on their site. so do i think obama really thinks this? i can’t imagine it, but i don’t know: i don’t live in the man’s head. but i know one thing for certain: he would never publicly say any of this tripe.

as someone who worked for a formerly large internet company for a few years; as someone with a masters in politics; and as someone who has been watching the internet for quite a few more; i personally think this is an interesting paradox. presidential candidates usually want to control their message to the nth degree. it is difficult enough to allow comments from anywhere on a political website; it is harder still to control blog entries, as they are generally larger and more noticeable.

even now, in the land of web 2.0, the behavior is still the same. non geeky people think: gee whiz, this new functionality. we MUST have it on our site! there’s little thought to the matter. consultants are paid. functionalities are launched.

and truthfully, unless you are properly staffed to deal with a web community that is potentially as large as the world, you probably have no business offering such capabilities. is there a community reporting mechanism? are there posting rules? what qualifies as offensive? (the latter is especially hard to define on a political website, methinks.)

your website is assumed to be under your control. even if obama never ever has been near a content management system or any sort of technical apparatus, his website still considered to be a mouthpiece of his campaign.

and just as official spokespersons can save your butt or get it nailed at times, your website can apparently do so, too.


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