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President Obama plans to use YouTube, Twitter, email, and texts to organize his supporters to push legislation and get public feedback. Some are fearful that his efforts will create a government-controlled news channel, which will supplant independent journalism, though.  (Source: YouTube)
Obama tries to create a direct news network to citizens, but is it overreaching?

President Barack Obama, once a community organizer, swayed the public largely via a heavily funded grass-roots campaign, which saw tremendous presence on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other online outlets.

Now as he begins to push many ambitious and challenging legislative initiatives, he's turning to these same internet outlets, retooling from election mode into a means of garnering public support.  In doing so he's setting an archetype likely to be followed by Presidents and policy makers to come.

The new group, Organizing for America, housed at the Democratic National Committee, (rather than the White House) will help Obama direct his campaigns.  It will communicate with an army of volunteers and supporters via text message, email, and internet sites.

The move in some ways echoes President Bush's numerous public addresses and news conferences, which saw him trying to skip by the press and take his message directly to the people.  Likewise, President Obama plans to try to skip the media, while delivering his message directly to the public, albeit via a more high tech mode.

Where past Presidents recorded a weekly radio address, President Obama records a weekly YouTube video.  The videos are also posted to the White House website.  His video last week discussing the bailout package garnered 600,000 hits in a single day.

One major obstacle that President Obama faces in communicating via the internet is restrictions on his list of 13 million supporters' email addresses, which he previously compiled.  He is unable to use this list, due to restrictions on such data compiled for political (election-related) purposes.  The DNC is starting from scratch a new list, which will be valid as it’s created solely to help convey President Obama's message.  To help jump start it, the DNC has been allowed by law to email a message to the previous listing inviting them to join the new list.

The organizers, determination, vigor, and a solid plan face big challenges in accomplishing their goals of reaching the masses via technology.  Describes David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager and one of the organizers of this effort, "This has obviously never been undertaken before.  So it’s going to be a little trial and error."

That might be an understatement, considering the group has yet to feature a fully developed website, reach funding agreements with the DNC, and start its own fund-raising.  One thing the organization does have going for it is a clever reference to the name of his former campaign organization with the organization's initials, O.F.A., conveniently also applying to the prior Obama for America campaign.

As well as organizational challenges, President Obama's organizers face division within his own party.  Some in Congress fear that he will use the new organization as a means to lobby the public to pressure members of Congress on legislation.  Mr. Plouffe tries to mollify these critics, stating, "This is not a political campaign.  This is not a ‘call or e-mail your member of Congress’ organization."

Rather he and President Obama view the organization as a two-way street, to both offer information on the President's message, and to get feedback from the public on issues.

Some see the new efforts as a result of a public DIY spirit when it comes to journalism.  Says Macon Phillips, the “new media” director for Mr. Obama’s administration, "Historically the media has been able to draw out a lot of information and characterize it for people.  And there’s a growing appetite from people to do it themselves."

However, others in the journalistic community, on both sides of the political aisle, are fearful that the new initiative is an attempt to create a government-controlled news outlet to supplant independent news outlets, and further that it could indeed succeed in doing so.  Bill Kovach, the chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, "They’re beginning to create their own journalism, their own description of events of the day, but it’s not an independent voice making that description.  It’s troublesome until we know how it’s going to be used and the degree to which it can be used on behalf of the people, and not on behalf of only one point of view."

Thus the organizational, social, and political challenges have only just begun as President Obama tries to continue to use the internet to further his message.

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RE: what?
By Moishe on 1/28/2009 11:42:40 AM , Rating: 4
*Raises hand* "Mr. President, it's cool that we close Gitmo... but where are we gonna put the prisoners?"

By claiming that this is a "fear tactic" you are basically exposing what you really think.
A.) How dare anyone question this decision
B.) Anyone opposing Obama is a right-wing crazy

This is kind of humorous because I heard many, many things about how it was patriotic to question the Bush Administration. Now it's not cool? I call BS. Citizens should always question and the question of where the f*cking prisoners are going to be located is a VERY valid question. Obama is a man and he's a politician and both of these mean that he's prone to mistakes and he is doing what *HE* wants done and damn the consequences (just like Bush, just like Clinton, etc, etc). We have a right (so far) and a duty to question.

RE: what?
By sgw2n5 on 1/28/2009 12:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
There is a big difference between asking where the detainees are going to reside after Gitmo closes, and falsely stating that Obama is going to release them into the US. Surely you understand this?

And yes, I stand by the fact that if you think that Obama is going to release terrorists into the US, you are likely a right wing crazy. You even managed to imply that Obama is going to take away our freedom of speech in your last post. You seem kinda out there to me.

RE: what?
By Moishe on 1/28/2009 12:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your whole argument rests on this:
Obama is going to release terrorists into the US

Read my other post where I explain that Dreifort did NOT say that Obama would be releasing terrorists into the U.S. Apparently the quote was taken just slightly wrong by you and now we're arguing about absolutely nothing.

I've never implied anything about Obama removing our freedom of speech. If you're going to accuse, please at least accuse me of something I did. Thanks.

RE: what?
By sgw2n5 on 1/28/2009 12:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
How does this read to you?

We have a right (so far) and a duty to question.

Am I to believe that the "(so far)" part of your sentence was an unfortunate series of typo's?

RE: what?
By Moishe on 1/28/2009 12:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not at all. "So far" means what I intended... We have a duty to speak and so far we have the freedom to speak. I believe in using what you have, while you have it.

Obama is where he is because of that freedom and no doubt he knows that. I see plenty of others on all sides trying actively to shut down those who oppose them. Over the years this has grown a lot in this country and we may in the future not be allowed to say what we think for fear of attack. All the government has to do is classify a certain type of opinion to be "hate-speach" and we're already starting down the road.

RE: what?
By Moishe on 1/28/2009 12:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
Actually reminds me a bit of V for Vendetta... great movie.

It's a shame that "tolerance" is held up as the best thing ever but it has no substance. People still try to prevent people from thinking and from gaining information. It's all a method of control and I can see how the general attitude in the U.S. has changed over the past ten years.

It's a shame that "we" want to hurt our constitutional rights just to advance our personal opinion. We win in the short term, but in the long term we have given up one of our most sacred rights.

RE: what?
By Dreifort on 1/28/2009 1:14:15 PM , Rating: 3
well, with Obama's new Hate Crime bills going to legislation..

- Use the word "Gay"'s a hate crime.
- If you are for sending illegal immigrants back home, that's a hate crime for hating illegals.
- If you shoot somone stealing your money, hate crime against the poor.
- And, if you oppose the current president on ANY topic...yep, hate crime because he's a man of color.

Aside from the sarcasim - the media does treat any talking aginst Obama like racism. Sad. Grow up media and other far-leftys. We are opposed to Obama for his political values, not his skin color.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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