Skullduggery is interesting in that apparently the rise of the blogosphere as a political force or at the very least as a more open forum for political discourse, is a worry because some renegade might say something that inflames candidates or the debate, a la the "1984" ad. But that doesn't interest me as much as the control argument.
The case against loss of "control" puts less emphasis on wrongful or questionable behavior, and more on how campaigns can’t control their message—that orderly political competition will degenerate into chaos. Here again, candidates have long had this to fear from the MSM. Reporters and editorialists imagine, however, that this was in the right and natural order of things, because a vibrant and sometimes disruptive press helped to police the dialogue and forced campaigns to an honest accounting of their positions and problems.Message control in campaigns is nothing new, in fact campaigns probably spend almost as much time on message control as they do on fundraising, that is to say a great deal. But events overtake campaigns and try as they might, campaigns can't control events and really don't try to as much as the media may have you think.
In other words, just as the critics of skullduggery make an exception for the kind they turn into news coverage, so alarmists on the subject of "control" over campaigns are arguing, really, that it should be exercised only by the MSM.
These arguments about "control" can’t change much anymore. There was a time when they might have: when the FEC might have been persuaded, as it was not, that Internet political speech should be closely regulated. With the passing of that moment, MSM critics have only their criticism to offer and their warnings to issue but these should be evaluated like any other political speech—skeptically, with close attention to the unmistakable evidence of self-interest. And of self-regard.
The best candidates are the ones who an react in an ever changing environment and get ahead of the curve, demonstrating a key trait in leadership--being able to lead in a tumultuous time.
The rise of the blogosphere as a news agency means that candidates will have to be rapidly reactive but also gives them a chance to lead from the front of the wave. The internet is a powerful tool--but it is just that a tool--as much for attacking as supporting a candidate's position.