Ed Driscoll

NEW MEDIA, NEW POWER

Duane Freese of Tech Central Station zeroes in on how Trent Lott’s remarks about Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrat Democrats of ’48 were disseminated:

the real heat in the Lott affair has been generated by new media.

Some of that has come from the left, in particular liberal blogger Josh Marshall, who zeroed in on Lott’s remarks at the start.

But what gave the story currency beyond another left-of-center smear was the focus upon the issue by the likes of libertarian InstaPundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds; conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, and National Review Online, in particular Jonah Goldberg and David Frum. And the conservative news and information center, Town Hall online, has provided a forum for the most thoughtful, and most scathing, commentary.

The fire generated in those places simply has not allowed Lott to get away with saying what he did about a Thurmond victory in 1948, failing at first to apologize for it, and then trying to pass off his remarks as simply a poor choice of words.

Such excuses ring hollow when, with a little exploration on the Drudge Report, you can find that Lott withdrew from an event a couple months ago honoring Harry Belafonte after the singer and liberal activist publicly called Colin Powell a “house slave.”

In light of that recent event, Lott’s own past and Thurmond’s historic record, it boggles the imagination that he could even “wing” words about a Thurmond presidency being preferable for the nation only because he wanted to be nice to the old man.

But perhaps the most important element of the Lott story is the way in which conservatives used the Net and new media in order to hold a leader to account – something that would have been impossible just a few years ago.

The result is a badly wounded Lott–who may be in worse shape than anyone anticipated…