Throwing words away one syllable at a time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Barack Obama's campaign's stand on new media, blogs, threatens free speech

Below is my correspondence with the Barack Obama campaign from my account. I saw a story on CNN about how Obama took over Joe Anthony's Obama MySpace page. Initially, it was a move so that the candidate could control the information posted. As CNN reported it, the two parties couldn't agree on compensating Anthony for his work and the campaign officially took over the site.

I've got some GRAVE concerns about this move and Freedom of Speech.


----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: CHER Cher
Date: May 3, 2007 9:42 AM

You know, I actually considered voting for Obama.

But I saw the story on CNN about how this campaign bogarted the time, effort and work of Joe Anthony.

Frankly, I have GRAVE doubts about anyone running for high office who treats freedom of information (and speech) so callously. That scares me, actually.

I saw in that story that he lost Anthony's vote. Well, you can tell Barack Obama he lost my vote, too.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Barack Obama
Date: May 9, 2007 5:04 PM

Thanks for writing us with your concern about the confusion over our official Myspace profile. Simply put, there has been a lot bouncing around throughout the internet on this one. Nonetheless, we think Joe Anthony did a great job in organizing on MySpace and worked with him toward the profile becoming official. Unfortunately, after working together for the last two months, we did not achieve an agreement on how to move forward together and therefore started our new official profile with the official url being Joe worked hard to build the community and is running his own unique profile. We hope our official MySpace community can work together with Joe as well as the rest of the unofficial Myspace communities in the days ahead.

Lindsay @ Obama HQ

From: CHER to the Obama Campaign
Date: May 9, 2007

Thanks for the reply.

But I got my information from the mainstream media and a reputable news organization -- CNN -- not what was "bouncing around the Internet." I'm a Journalism grad student who studies online media, specifically blogs and citizen news movements. And given my area of study, this move by Obama and his campaign concerns me.

But it doesn't take someone incredibly informed to see Obama stepped on First Amendment Rights here. He didn't tread close to it. He stomped on the First Amendment with this move.

By taking over Joe Anthony's blog, Obama took over another person's freedom of speech so he could control the content. It would be one thing if Obama's campaign agreed to compensate Anthony for his work. If you think Joe Anthony did just a great job, how come you weren't willing to pay him for it?

Further, there are a number of legal issues that will have to be resolved in the future dealing with blogs and free speech. Were you aware a blogger in California spent more than 200 days in jail because he would not turn over his reporting (a video)? There's a building controversy over who should have protections from a shield law... should bloggers be included in that?

When I look at those issues and the high-handed act here by Obama, I have some very grave concerns about voting for the man and what kind of policy he would promote in a situation like the shield law I mentioned above. If stepping in, taking over, and controlling information by calling it "official" is Obama's way of managing new media and the press, that's just freaking scary.


AP story: Obama takes MySpace page from backer

Obama MySpace page:

Joe Anthony's MySpace page:


Blogger TFO said...

Right on Cher! Tell it like it is.
i just stumbled on your blog, but i'm glad i did.

if you don't mind i'm going to re-post this on my blog.

todd aka philfree

8:17 PM

Blogger TFO said...

Thanks again for the reply. keep up the great work and good luck in your graduate program.

8:04 AM


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