The web today is not the same as it was during the last presidential election.
Old media, apparently, can learn new media tricks. Not since 1960, when John F. Kennedy
won in part because of the increasingly popular medium of television,
has changing technology had such an impact on the political campaigns
and the organizations covering them.
For many viewers, the 2008
election has become a kind of hybrid in which the dividing line between
online and off, broadcast and cable, pop culture and civic culture, has
been all but obliterated.
Many of the media outlets influencing the 2008 election simply were not around in 2004. YouTube did not exist, and Facebook barely reached beyond the Ivy League. There was no Huffington Post
to encourage citizen reporters, so Mr. Obama’s comment about voters
clinging to guns or religion may have passed unnoticed. These sites and
countless others have redefined how many Americans get their political
When viewers settle in Tuesday night to watch the election returns, they will also check text messages
for alerts, browse the Web for exit poll results and watch videos
distributed by the campaigns. And many folks will let go of the mouse
only to pick up the remote and sample an array of cable channels with
election coverage — from Comedy Central to BBC America. David Carr and Brian Stelter, New York Times