When Old Media Confronted Howard Dean

Lyndon, Chris
March 2004
Nieman Reports;Spring2004, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p30
This article comments on the campaign of Howard Dean as presidential candidate in the U.S. Generally, the 2004 campaign has been about the power of the mass media and Internet democracy. For the Internet-minded, the core issue in 2004 lies outside party lines or the standard list of left-right choices in the U.S. The Dean campaign has come to stand for the possibility of an Internet democracy. From the beginning, there was no separating the political and media tracks of the campaign's offensive. Dean began his campaign with a bold exercise in definition--a job of critical journalism. His defining thrust was against the war in Iraq, in which before it began, the traditional media were embedded. What happened to Dean in Iowa and New Hampshire was not as much about politics as it was about an assault by commercial media on the very idea of a self-willed and self-defining citizenry. According to media critic Jon Katz, the Dean campaign is everything that contemporary journalism is not. Almost every influence from the media has been to lessen the cause of Dean, miss the point, or to find some personal excuse not to notice the Dean movement. Prior to the New Hampshire primary, columnist Richard Reeves made the observation on The Blogging of the President: 2004 broadcast that something fundamental had changed since John F. Kennedy and television exalted each other in 1960.


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