Yesterday in the NY Times, David Carr continued to perpetuate a myth about bloggers, in this case claiming the media was the realm of those who rant from their basement. Whether it be describing bloggers as lefty lunatics, or losers typing in their pajamas, mainstream media writers are continuing the tradition of decades past when the emerging media is panned, criticized and haughtily dismissed by the guardians of a crumbling legacy world.
This is particularily galling to me, not just because I am proudly one of the "700 bloggers you've never heard of" that post here on the Huffington Post, but because I know many of the prominent bloggers in the Progressive and Democratic arena and during my time on the Kerry Campaign, I met many of the mainstream journalists and I am here to tell you - I'm with the bloggers.
But who are the bloggers? Who are these random people with small black and white pictures on the HuffPost and other sites? Why should you listen to them, to me, for that matter?
I decided to start a series of posts - each one about a different blogger, at times, I also will highlight the credentials of a mainstream media writer, not to say I or anybody else is better or smarter or has longer hair, but to say look, let's take a fair assessment here and we'll let the world decide. (I'm betting the 2 million plus monthly HuffPost visitors are onto something, but I've been wrong before.)
To start it off, I figure if I'm going to hold everyone else up for inspection, I better stand up myself first.
I'm forty one years old, I grew up and live in Boston, I went to private school here and then off to boarding school (Groton) where I wrote my Sixth Form Paper about how Nazi Propoganda Techniques Form The Basis Of Modern Advertising Strategy.
I went south to Duke University and graduated in three and a half years with a B.A. in economics and a focus in political science and history. I spent a summer overseas on a Duke Political Science Program in Zimbabwe and Botswana at the end of the Apartheid Era in Southern Africa.
I went to work in advertising - as a copywriter and then creative / strategy director at agencies such as The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas, and Slingshot in Dallas, Texas (another venture I was around for the starting of) and then ran my own agency in Boston called Common Sense.
I worked on accounts ranging from Continental Airlines, Cellular One, Murata and Neiman Marcus to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and the American Red Cross. I won more than fifty awards for advertising excellence, including one Clio, and when I shut my twenty person agency down in Boston in 2003 - I headed off on the Kerry Campaign. I thought I'd be back in thirty days, I was gone for a year.
I primarily worked with and traveled with Cam Kerry, John's brother, but I was there thru the freezing days of the early primaries, I stayed up all night after we won New Hampshire with Kelly Wallace from CNN and others, I went to South Carolina and New York, and then when John won on Super Tuesday, I decided to stay through the end.
I made $8 million less than Bob Shrum did on the campaign. I got paid my expenses, and my cell phone bill. I put together a great team, Nate Turnbull, Parisa Sabeti, Katie Blaz and Justin Ehrenwerth were the core, our team raised close to $20 million, I personally raised almost $900,000, we took care of the Kerry siblings (Cam, Peggy and Diana) - I went to the debates, stood on the stage at the end of convention in Boston waving at friends, joined the crew fighting back against the Swift Boats, worked harder than I have at anything in my life and am glad I did - it was the first political campaign of my life.
I saw the best of the process, and I saw the worst.
I knew we were in real trouble in August 2004; I thought we had a chance after the Miami debate, and I knew we were going to lose on November 2.
My fondest memory is of the last night of the campaign - we all met in Cleveland, John Kerry, Cam, Laurie and Larry David and Kristen Breitweiser, we had Springsteen there - Kelly Wallace was sick with a cold in the stands with us. We lost.
I felt like I had let everyone in the country who I had met down. My first call early the next morning when we decided to concede was to Arianna, I could hardly speak. I couldn't face the widows, or the veterans or my gay and lesbian friends, it was absolutely awful and I think about it every single day. No, that's true. I think about it every single hour of every single day.
Since then I have been blogging - in fact, Peter Daou and I are the only two people I know of who have seen a Presidential Campaign from the inner circle and also are heavily involved in the online progressive blogging world. David Thorne would be the third - if I could ever get him to post.
A core difference of the mainstream and online media worlds is that Peter Daou and I write about politics having lived and survived it. Mainstream media writers have only written about it. Their view and experiences are outside in - ours are inside out. Do you think someone writing about the impact of 9-11 from the outside is more impactful or thought-out than say Kristen Breitweiser, a 9-11 widow writing about it? No way.
Post 2004, I have done some more corporate turnaround work, I helped out Fenton Communications for a short while writing and producing tv commercials for MoveOn.org and am now involved in several turnaround projects.
My core strategic thought right now is that there are two worlds of political power in America today, the real world and the legacy world, I firmly believe that no Democrat will win The White House without merging the worlds. I am sharing a presentation on this with John Kerry soon I hope, I spoke with Evan Bayh about it at dinner, and I hope to sit down with Al Gore as well.
Speaking of that, I think Al Gore should run. I think John Kerry wants to, but I'm not sure he should. And I promise you that Hillary will not be the nominee.
That's me. I appreciate everyone who emails me when I write - I recently got an email from a fellow Kerry campaigner who read a post I wrote from Africa. I enjoy writing here and I try to do it well - I bring my experiences and my views and my life to the table and share it to the best of my ability. I read the bio's of a lot of mainstream media writers, does someone who's spent twenty years in the newspaper world writing one column a week have a better grasp on the situation than I do? To be honest, I don't believe so.
Last thought - my thinking on the legacy newspaper world is best explained by a quick story.
I was in San Francisco last year when the London bombings occurred. I was up at 4:00 am Pacific time checking out the news from London on the computer because it was my first day there and I was still on Boston time. I spoke with David Thorne about the bombings, he then called John Kerry about them, and then we chatted some more.
I worked out, got some coffee and then was in the hotel lobby when the San Francisco Chronicle arrived - front page news, LONDON WINS THE SUMMER OLYMPICS.
Rest in peace, my dear newspaper, rest in peace.
Watch for the next installment soon: Meet The Blogger - Peter Daou. Thanks - let me know what you think, my email is in my bio.