Is Howard Dean a dot-com?
Governor Dean came third in the Iowa caucus/primary. Given that I had hitherto been convinced that he was now a certainty to win the Democratic nomination, this is an uncomfortable result. There was an interesting article in Salon asking whether people like me had been fooled by Dean’s campaign the way the media were fooled by the irrational exhuberance of the dot-com boom. Maybe we were. I don’t know. I just found Dean’s campaign to be attractive and superbly intelligent, and assumed that would communciate itself to voters. Was I wrong?
In that context, MIT Technology Review’s Blogger, Henry Jenkins, has an insightful take on it. He argues that “candidates have to campaign in a hybrid media environment and right now, what plays well on the internet is almost exactly opposite from what plays well on television. Part of what happened to Dean was that complex ideas which could be developed through a post in his blog were reduced by his opponents into ‘sound bytes’ which could be used against him on television, forcing him perpetually on the defensive. We can add to that the fact that he looks awkward in some televised contexts — most people seem to think he looked really awkward the other night in Iowa — and this adds to the perception that he has a ‘temperament’ problem. Yet, that passion, the ‘heat’ he generates, is what pulls his cyber-supporters to him and to some degree, his supporters read that awkwardness as a sign of authenticity.”