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And The Web Winners Are ...

(CBS/AP)
As the election post-mortems start flowing in from all over the map, we'll keep an eye on what folks are saying about the impact that the Web had on this midterm cycle and where it's headed for 2008. Certainly bloggers had more of a presence and received far more attention than they did in the last election, but it's hard to quantify the level of impact they had on this election as a whole. But, as Jeff Jarvis points out this morning, there's one player that emerged to play a very large role – YouTube. Here's Jarvis:
YouTube allowed anyone with a camera to report on any candidate and so now any misstatement gains toxicity and speed; this is the true viral politics.

The speed of politics has changed, just as the speed of media did before it. Dan Rather couldn't wait 11 days to correct his mistake. Allen and Kerry couldn't wait hours to back off their media malaprops.

The voice of politics has changed, not just because the people can now be heard in our blogs but also because we can cut through the nonsense of media coverage with the no-nonsense attitude of comedy news. On YouTube, you can remix and mock any politician. Anyone can be Jon Stewart.

I've argued on several occasions that this proliferating practice is unlikely to be as liberating as its champions claim. When candidates flood the zone the next time around, you'll almost certainly see much more scripting of their campaigns. Ironically, the tools that should be providing more transparency into our political leaders might well lead to less as they and their advisers build walls to avoid those "malaprops." Whatever its eventual impact though, there's no doubt that YouTube played a part in 2006.
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