Posted by: CJ | March 8, 2009


What would Reagan’s presidency have been like if political blogs and the internet existed? Could he have pulled off that Great Communicator persona with an army of belligerent fact-checkers around? Would he have had as tight a control on message? And, what I’m maybe most curious about, is how would Carter have been viewed afterwards if there were bloggers around to make Reagan’s vision of sunshine and rainbows less overpowering?

I don’t have answers to these questions, but I find them fascinating to think about nonetheless.



  1. Just bear in mind that even Palin had supporters on the internet, so you can’t assume that citizen-journalists would have kept the Reagan sunshine from brightening up the 80s. Might have made it interesting, but the argument could be made that the speed of media and news today–and the ability of every yahoo to voice random reactions–might make reactions even more knee-jerk.

  2. This is true. But I always got the impression that part of the reason Reagan sounded so good is he was allowed to get away with all sorts of little gaffes and fudging of numbers. Reagan seemed like a master at story-telling to get his listeners to believe in the same reality that Reagan believed in, not in using data and hard analysis to challenge pre-existing beliefs. The effectiveness of storytelling is severely hampered if your stories are continually challenged as being false.

    And don’t forget, the blogs of today have had some very big impacts in news and politics. Talking Points Memo stayed on the US Attorneys scandal until it eventually made nation-wide news. And part of the fallout of that and other events eventually induced Gonzales to step down as Attorney General.

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