Dave Winer muses on the cozy relationship between traditional media companies and politicians. He’s on to something.
My view on the problem is that activists/bloggers need to use the internet to increase awareness of local races that the traditional media ignores or downplays. Wisconsin’s DPI (Department of Public Instruction) race cleanly illustrates the problem. The incumbent, Libby Burmaster – supported by our current Democratic Governer, Jim Doyle and the state teacher’s union, has apparently not been showing up for any primary debates or forums. I’ve not seen the traditional media organs call her on the carpet for this (our event moderator, The League of Women’s Voters mentioned that incubments lack of participation is a growing problem).
Libby may or may not be a great candidate. Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to compare, given the lack of interaction with the other candidates.
In an effort to address this problem and increase public awareness of the race and the 2/15/2005 primary, a few of us put together a DPI candidate forum on 1/29/2005. Three of the four candidates appeared. In addition, several TV stations appeared to interview the candidates. This event, to my knowledge, is the only Madison pre-primary DPI candidate event. We archived the forum with video & audio clips in an effort to broadly distribute information on the candidates. This effort is a very modest beginning.