Do Not Fear the Blog

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 23, 2006 1:02 PM

Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, Ga. is trying to convince colleagues to embrace alternative media-- blogs, podcasts, and comedy shows-- as a way to get around the MSM and get messages out.

What Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw in radio, John F. Kennedy in network television and Newt Gingrich in talk radio, Kingston sees in Web logs, or blogs, and entertainment TV — a new opportunity to win over voters and frame political debate.

"If you want to reach a new audience — Gen X and people who haven't made their political decisions — you've got to get where they are, and that might mean Comedy Central-type stuff or it may be this new world of blogs," said Kingston, who acknowledges that success in wooing new voters can only enhance his chances of moving up in the House leadership.

He's even approached Bush about doing a blogger press conference (wouldn't David Gregory just have a coniption?):

Kingston talked to Bush about doing a bloggers-only presidential news conference. But while Bush agreed to appear with Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin on their TV programs as a candidate, neither he nor his top two communications aides jumped at a chance to join the blogosphere.

"They can say it cheapens [political office], but a populist flair is good for everyone," Kingston tells critics.

Well, Bush may not be setting up a press conference, but he did give bloggers at hat tip in his Iraq speech Tuesday:

One of the things that we have to value is that that we do have a media, free media that's able to do what they want to do and I - you ask me to say something in front of all the camera here [laughter]. Help over there will ya? I just got to keep talking and word of mouth, there's blogs, there's internet, there's all kinds of ways to communicate which is literally changing the way people get their information and so if you're concerned I would suggest that you reach out to some of the groups that are supporting the troops, that got internet sites and just keep the word moving.