s skippy the bush kangaroo: exclusive!! skippy's interview w/richard hanley on blogs in the lieberman/lamont race

skippy the bush kangaroo



Tuesday, July 18, 2006

exclusive!! skippy's interview w/richard hanley on blogs in the lieberman/lamont race

[ed. note: welcome, visitors from yahoo, huffpo, general jc christian, and any where else in blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!

[please enjoy our interview w/prof. richard hanley about blogs & the lamont/lieberman race. then click on the kangaroo logo on top of our right-hand sidebar, and wander thru the rest of our humble blog!]

skippy recently has had email correspondence with prof. richard hanley of quinnipiac university's school of communications about blogs and their influence (or lack thereof) in the joe lieberman/ned lamont primary race.

prof. hanley is, among other things, the director of graduate studies for the communications school and the assistant professor of e-media there, so he should know what he's talking about!

more impressive: he's received 6 emmy nominations for various documentaries he's worked on [ed. note: see addendum* at end of the post], and he seems to be the go-to guy for quotes about the media whenever the media needs some.

and, he's got his own blog, the creeping meatball. skippy didn't know that when skippy corresponded with him, or skippy would have been much nicer!

[ed. note: the professor, being a professor and all, actually used capital letters in his responses. do not think for one minute prof. hanley refused to use the caps key. that was us, as usual! readers of this space know what we think about that!]

skippy the bush kangaroo: hello professor hanley, i'm a blogger myself, very interested in the lieberman/lamont race...in particular, i'd be interested to know your thoughts on the general dissatisfaction the connecticut voters have w/lieberman, and if you don't see that as having more of an impact on the race than blogs.

richard hanley: thanks for writing. i would be happy to discuss the lieberman-lamont primary race. as to the first question, the forests of lamont signs on the front lawns of connecticut homes suggest that the dissatisfaction with lieberman extends far beyond the local political blogosphere. blogs certainly play a role in galvanizing existing support for both men, but there is no firm evidence to suggest that content on blogs is driving the momentum of the race either way. if anything, it is validating pre-existing positions.

skippy tbk: given the large dissatisfaction w/lieberman on a state level, how much influence, if any, would you say the blogs have had (versus local and national traditional media) on (a) getting lamont known among the voters?

rh: blogs and mainstream media coverage of blogs have gone a long way toward giving lamont a level of name recognition he wouldn’t have had otherwise within the core democratic base. it’s important to note, though, that the audience was ready to accept and learn more about an anti-lieberman candidate, as the dissatisfaction with the senator and his relationship with the president are significant in the state. the convention showed that to be the case.

the dump joe bumper stickers have been around for a few years now, so the blogs fulfilled two roles: creating a specific demand for a specific challenge and reflecting a larger desire for the same thing. that’s a very effective combination, and it illustrates the tremendous functionality of blogs to both drive and reflect emerging political sensibilities among the electorate.

a key question is whether blogs can influence the results of the august primary. voters who are busy and have yet to decide on a candidate will field information about the candidates from a variety of sources, including legacy media, so as i pointed out earlier, marginal voters may not be influenced by specific blogs and specific postings as they will by a wider variety of content.

stbk: same question about blog's influence on (b) getting lieberman's record out in front of the public?

rh: this information certainly percolated within many blogs before it reached critical mass and consistency within the lamont candidacy and, subsequently, in political ads that tied lieberman’s record to the republican administration.

stbk: same question about blog's influence on (c) making this a national story?

rh: the persistence of postings clearly showed the anti-lieberman movement to be credible and worth paying attention to several months ago. it’s the virtuous circle thing. the more blogs posted information on this subject, the more blogs posted more information on this subject. blogs amplified the story and showed through the persistence of postings that its importance could not be ignored or denied.
[ed. note: we like prof. hanley's use of "virtuous circle" rather than "viscious." we like this guy.]

stbk: can you discuss any differentiation between what you describe as the "local political blogosphere" and any out-of-state or national blogs?

rh: the local political bloggers are the folks who may work for local msm and who may already have an organic local constituency and credibility within that constituency as far as information flows go. national blogs give a candidate credibility with a national donor base. just look at lamont’s recent fec filing and check to see where the money is coming from. did national blogs have something to do with that? you betcha.

stbk: one more question: does quinnipac plan on conducting any polls asking about the influence of blogs on this or any other race? if not, can you discuss why not?

rh: the quinnipiac poll is conducted by our polling institute, which is part of our university but not of the school of communications where i teach. the institute polls on many things. i will forward your idea to the folks over there, as it is an excellent topic for a poll and one that i would wholly support.
we remarked that if skippy had bothered to read any of the professor's bio, and put 2 and 2 together, he would have realized that the school of communication had very little, if anything, to do with the polling institute. duh!

in conclusion, we must thank prof. hanley for graciously giving of his time to discuss blogs and their effect on this race. go read his blog!

addendum*: prof. hanley's resume is far more impressive than we even first thought! he graciously sent us a quick rundown of his background:

i'm sorry i didn't get to this earlier but my background is that i worked as a reporter for local newspapers and magazines in connecticut area (1978-1991), served as a contributing writer for prodigy's timely topics section (1992-1993), wrote and edited background on the news for grolier interactive that appeared on aol and compuserve (1994-1999), served as a senior producer for time magazine's time.com (1999-2000) and have been at quinnipiac university as an assistant professor of journalism and graduate program director in the school of communications since 2001.

since 1990, i have been an independent producer, writer and director of documentaries for the public broadcasting service and its member station in connecticut, connecticut public television. my documentaries include several that have been nominated for emmys. these include the 1964 world's fair (national), the hartford circus fire, the flood of '55, when disaster struck connecticut, and a trilogy titled connecticut during world war ii.

regards,
posted by skippy at 5:22 PM |

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