Wendy Davis and the Rise of New Media

Those of you who consume conservative news media are likely aware that the Wendy Davis campaign is in trouble following revelations that her projected persona, while not a complete fabrication, leaves out components of her life that might harm her political agenda, not the least of which are the facts that she only lived in a trailer for the short time it took for her to find a man who would finance her way through law school, and that as soon as she graduated from law school she filed from divorce from the man who payed her way through, and coincidentally gave him full custody of her two children, one of which was from her previous marriage. Sordid and wicked come to mind.

More interesting to me however, is the escalating panic within her campaign as they attempt to spin these new discoveries and maintain control of the narrative. Unless it’s linked from a news source I follow, I do not consume anything broadcast by the legacy media, so I can’t be sure, but considering their historically biased coverage, I can’t imagine there is thorough if any mention of this conflict between the Wendy Davis that is and the Wendy Davis she wants you to think she is. So, if the legacy media isn’t covering it, why the panic to cover it up?

We’re told that our missives on the degrading status and stability of America are only heard in our little conservative circles, that we can scream and shout all we want, the people “out there” won’t do anything about it, they’ll just continue to watch “honey boo boo” and enjoy their hot dinner secured by the soldiers fighting in a land far, far away. I think the Wendy Davis breakdown signals different. I think the flood of new, unbiased, professional, thorough, new media outlets has more influence than we’re led to believe. I think there are more and a growing number of people like me who have shunned legacy media because of its bias and filled the void of news and information with that provided by new media sources. What I think is missing is the ability to judge the “temperature” and scope of those like me. The problem – the reason “new media consumers” cannot be easily assessed – is the same reason for new media’s success, independence.

The reason new media is able to escape the bonds of bias is because they are free to broadcast content without a central means to control that content. This is both a strength and a weakness. Freedom of speech is the strength, difficulty in measuring the impact of that speech is the weakness.

I don’t know the answer. I imagine some kind of emergent polling, petitioning, and aggregation technology might help. The idea should be to collect and distilll opinion as held by new media consumers and morph that into material and actionable political influence. But the answer isn’t the point of this commentary. My point is that we have undersold our influence. The Wendy Davis campaign reaction is proof of that. If new media was inconsequential, her campaign would need to do nothing. I believe the reaction of her campaign should be interpreted as a signal.

New media is rising. It is increasing in influence. To the point that a professional state political campaign must react. Take heart my friends. This is going to be interesting.