Thursday, February 08, 2007

Political Videoblogging Comes of Age

There will be many advances in production values ahead, but with Jane Hamsher and Swopa on releasing a U.S. vs. Scooter Libby update at the end of each trial day, for the first time there's a videoblog that's actually more essential on a political topic than any written blog out there.

I'm someone who actually has an interest in the Libby trial, because it seems that the case findings over Libby's key role in the Bush Administration "outing" one of our very own C.I.A. agents, will lead straight into the Vice President's office. You have to admit, it'll be a fearsome media day if the Defense chooses to put Dick Cheney on the witness stand.

However, I'm also someone who doesn't have the time or inclination to read trial transcripts. I want a summary of the day's events by a trusted source, and based on how their reports are borne out by the mainstream media stories, albeit sometimes watered down, Hamsher and Swopa are trustable, and thanks to PoliticsTV, they're accessible.

As Co-Founder of firedoglake and regular Contributor to Huffington Post, Hamsher has become a major voice in the blogosphere. That voice was threatened recently when she suddenly went into surgery for breast cancer, but she was in D.C. covering the trial barely one week after coming out of the hospital. You have to respect someone who's anticipation of Scooter (and, by proxy, Dick) on trial gave her the will to heal.

Both firedoglake and Swopa's Needlenose have been with this story since it broke. Swopa's blog is more obviously snarky, featuring more of the pix and keeping the written posts briefer as well. They're terrific together on the videos because they're just smart real people, unprocessed by the MainStream Media, essentially and with gentility in opposition to the MSM.

Who knows if or when they'll get assimilated in to the system, but for now they're giving a much better news report and analysis of the day's proceedings than virtually all of the network coverage, and you can watch it on your own schedule at the end of the day. The pieces are single camera with the correspondents side-by-side, single handheld mic, kinda like...back when the radio and television networks actually did stand-up news reports of appropriate length and substance.

At six or seven conversationally brisk minutes each, the video updates are satisfying recaps of key moments -- like when Don Imus seemed to take over the trial from afar, or listening to tapes of Libby's self-contradictory grand jury testimony -- along with color commentary of the strategies and undercurrents unfolding in the courtroom. It's very, very entertaining political discourse, because while Hamsher and Swopa (and, in Wednesday's installment, HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington) are admittedly partisan, they're not opportunistic Rightwing reductionists, nor do they come across remotely "Loony" as some on the Right attempt to smear their enemies on the Left.

Hunter S. Thompson once famously wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." There's no denying that things have been increasingly weird ever since our Executive Branch turned over on Inauguration Day 2001. The H&S Libby Trial free public speech updates are trumping the pros. They're a model for the future -- bloggers gone pro; but just weird enough not to sell out.

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.


tchambers said...

Good stuff here... insightful and well written...


Mark Netter said...

Much thanks for you kind thoughts, Tim. Keep 'em coming!