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January 19, 2006

DAVID WARREN ON THE CANADIAN ELECTIONS:

What I think the Liberals failed to anticipate up here, like the Democrats down there, was a development that may well prove the antidote to smear advertising over the longer run. For this is the Canadian election in which our “blogosphere” came of age. Sites such as Small Dead Animals, Angry in the GWN, the Shotgun, Andrew Coyne.com, Relapsed Catholic, and many others, respond to events almost instantaneously. Then, “news aggregators” such as Nealenews and Bourque direct readers quickly to the latest memes. Things that would have taken a week to unfold in the old media, now break over breakfast and are resolved by noon; and an hysterical smear ad is being mocked and parodied, long before the evening news.

No wonder they're trying to use election law against Canadian bloggers. Warren continues:

In short, the Internet has broken the stranglehold the Liberal Party had over sympathetic media, and created an information environment in which you had better be darned sure what you are saying is the strict truth, because there’s an army of fact-checkers out there. Moreover, an army that cannot easily be intimidated by off-the-record threats from Party lawyers, or made to desist by peer pressure. For even when (as we saw in the delayed release of Gomery testimony) a legal ban on publication can be obtained, the information simply passes through electronic space across the border, and we can all read the banned material on such sites as Captain’s Quarters from the USA.

An "army of fact-checkers." Not quite the army I would have invoked, but close enough.

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