The Uploaded Down-Low

I FINALLY finished editing and posting my photos from my New Orleans trip in late May. It’s been a busy summer, and taking the time to update my personal Web space has not been the highest of priorities.

When I did sit down to do it, I was able to edit the photos, write captions for each, create thumbnails and code the HTML took me a couple of hours (maybe 2). I am overly concerned with structure (as I maintain pictures archives for my nephew, his sister and my youngest niece, and try to keep the interfaces similar), but putting together a significant amount of content just takes time. Even for someone who teaches others how to code Web pages as part of his career.

Earlier this week, Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry announced that for the 2004 campaign, John Edwards would be his running mate. The first announcement of this selection was made by Kerry via email to his Web site staff,

Within minutes of this email (less than 10), the Republican National Committee had posted its talking points on Edwards, titled “WHO IS JOHN EDWARDS? A Disingenuous, Unaccomplished Liberal And Friend To Personal Injury Trial Lawyers.” If you visit the page, you will see a lengthy list of negative talking points about the senator and his record.

What interested me was the speed with which this page was posted following the announcement and the speed at which it filtered through the partisan radio and television stations. Now I do not for one moment think that the GOP Webmasters wrote this content from scratch upon receiving a leaked email, for that’s simply impossible. It’s more likely that the Web team had constructed a selection of talking points about each of the potential VP candidates and simply loaded the package of Edwards as soon as the announcement was made official.

In fact, comments made at FoxNews’s website that same day, seemed to indicate that media outlets had been forewarned about the selection (although the email they display is addressed differently than the one posted by the NYT, making one wonder what the order of announcement actually was). So perhaps the GOP was given an early heads-up by one of the media outlets.

The speed of this content’s delivery should make those who still claim that the GOP does not go on the political offensive question this claim. Not to get partisan (both sides seem equally adept at slinging mud and spinning news in a hurry), but it would seem that, far from being the nonpartisan collection of individuals more interested in serving America than winning an election (as I’m often told), the GOP is at least as efficient at distributing their highly partisan messages to constituents as the Democrats. Throughout the day of the announcement, conservative talk radio and mass media outlets used the posted talking points in their analysis, sometimes almost verbatim.

Even the Bush campaign locked into step that same day. According to a Fox News article, the President himself refrained from commenting on the negative talking points, but his press secretary certainly didn’t.

Now, I’m not suggesting there is anything nefarious about this behavior or suggesting that one of our political parties is engaging in behavior that the other will not. Both sides use networking and resources to get their messages into the hands of their advocates. It’s just rare that the distribution process is so transparent.

I also find it interesting that the side of our political spectrum that cries foul (due to the ever-present “liberal media bias” accusation) whenever a media outlet offers a dissenting point from the White House official press releases saw a rapid and complete presentation of their talking points in many media outlets the same day the GOP posted the talking points.

I’m sure that’s not media bias, but I wish someone could explain to me the difference between that and what CNN and the Associated Press are so often accused of doing.