back to article Can Republicans steal Obama's Web 2.0 mojo?

When Digg began aggregating political articles during the 2008 US presidential election, many of the stories pushed to the top by the highest number of Diggs were pro-Obama and anti-McCain. In an article here, one conservative ruminated balefully on the innate bias among Digg's readers. He said the tech community that still …


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  1. KirstarK


    Are you trying to tell me this bunch are educated ?

    The mind boggles.

    TBH the mind boggles about alot of stuff that happends in the USA.

    1. The Professor

      strange but true

      It does indeed boggle the mind, but check out the education stats on quantcast:

    2. Steve Kay


      I'm not sure from which orifice the educational status of Conservapedia's editors was pulled from, but as anyone who follows CP can testify, educated they certainly ain't.

      In fact, Schlafly is pretty anti-education (check the Professor Values article, I dare you), and much prefers his "Best of the Public" approach - as championed on The Colbert Report.

  2. Seanmon

    Genuine curiosity

    Why do our American cousins get so worked up about politics? Yes, some people are more passionate than others and nobody should be apathetic, but really - choosing your social circle based on who votes for whom and delisting them on even such a dismal medium as farceboak? There are people I've known my whole life without knowing how they voted. It just does not arise in conversation.

    Not a dig, just curious why it arouses such vehemence on that side of the pond.

    1. Andrew Metzger

      Re: Genuine curiosity

      It's pretty simple, really; politics in America tend to be brutally polarized. There are only two parties, really, so instead of dozens of parties blustering for minor control, there are two parties who stand toe to toe and yell at each other.

      Since the two parties are almost always on opposite sides of any issue, voting preference comes down to voting for or against something. If you vote for "cut taxes and limit government spending," then anyone who votes opposite is, obviously, a wasteful big-government socialist, intent on destroying small businesses and the American Dream. If you vote "free healthcare for everyone," anyone who votes opposite you is, again obviously, an inhuman monster who would rather watch grandma die than pay a few measly dollars more in taxes.

      If you take that one step further, and give these polarized issues to people who don't understand them (read: the vast majority, on both sides), you end up with a huge crowd of people that believe the other side steals from the poor, eats babies, and drives the wrong way on a one way street. There is no room for logical argument, since few on either side understand their own stance, never mind the opposite stance. The few that do understand are fed up with arguing with idiots and would rather just unfriend you for believing differently than themselves anyway.

      1. Jimmy Floyd

        @Andrew Metzger

        Thanks for that, Andrew. As a Brit watching US politics with a mixture of bemusement and amusement it's helpful to read something explaining what appears to be a highly extreme system.

        I'm curious why the US in particular has become so polarised. Perhaps it's because whenever anyone from either side suggests that maybe 3+ party politics might be helpful they are denounced as advocating something that would take votes away from the 'good' side. The two parties themselves have become so effective that if you have a message or campaign you pretty much have to align with either philosophy, whether or not you really agree with the majority of their rhetoric.

        I know that Americans are a wonderfully enthusiastic people and will commit all their energies to a cause, but I can't helpful thinking that the 'black & white' (not a racial reference) thinking might be improved with a few shades of grey...?

  3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    If Conservatives are personally unpleasant

    It's kind of my impression that the Conservative approach to communication is to brutally reject and then deny any opposing point of view. To put it that if you don't agree with them then you haven't thought about it, or you aren't really American, or you don't exist. And also to be proactive and hunt in... packs? herds? (Party symbol = elephant. Or for Palinians, jackass.)

    Y'know, like Macintosh / Linux / Microsoft fans (and you wouldn't think there could be any, but there are).

    To a floating... um... turtle, that probably makes quite a strong impression, on first encounter.

    1. Morris Maynard


      It is my repeated experience that the Liberal approach to communication is to brutally reject and then deny any opposing point of view. In evidence I invite you to compare any set of comments to partisan articles on Daily Kos or Huffington Post vs. the same to articles at Red State or Free Will. The Left's dialogue (whoops, nearly put scare quotes there!) is much more profane and insular than that of the Right. And the Left considers the Right to be unintelligent much more often than the Right advances the same opinion of the Left.

      With reference to the parent article, one might suppose that education in and of itself is not a predictor of the wisdom (as distinguished from the intelligence) of the person under consideration.

  4. The Mighty Buzzard

    The Why

    It's not difficult to figure out why Conservatives on the Internet tend to be more intelligent. It takes quite a bit of an independent streak and some world class critical thinking skills to break yourself out of the overwhelmingly Liberal echo chamber that is the online community.

    I mean, come on. You have to be able to argue effectively against easily five times as many people as you can expect support from.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Conservatives and Social Networking

      So M. Buzzard - do you think a Conservative could have come up with this whole social networking thing?

      No? Thought not.

      It would be interesting to see what Conservatives - as opposed to Liberals - have invented in this sphere. Or any other sphere for that matter. I think the Cs will lose badly... their notion of "change the world" is "bring back the birch!"

  5. C 14


    "If you take a look at the education demographics for a conservative site like or, you'll notice that they really over-index compared to the US average, or even compared to sites like," McAtee said.

    "In other words, there are fewer conservatives online than liberals, but the average online conservative is better educated than the average online liberal. These are very smart people."

    Self-reported education demographics? Are they in any way reliable? Conservapedia is designed by and for for homeschoolers, for god's sake. If you've spent much time in either site, you know that "better educated" must count for diploma mills or unaccredited christian universities.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which Republican Party?

    Except there is no 'us' and 'them', many of the Republican couldn't stomach the neocon faction anymore and their bumbling incompetence and switched to Obama. That faction sticks to it's principles not a 'team' that represented those principles a long time ago.

    What you see now is the Republican party splitting in two, on the one hand you have the RNC led by Michael Steele trying to present a more moderate face, and against that a core of the extremists, led by Bill OReilly of Fox.

    And the extremists control the TV channel so they control the connection between Republicans and public.

    Fox has hired Palin, and Karl Rove and the rest, and present that factions as though they're the leadership of the Republican party, and get involved in shaping the Republican agenda via fake ground-swell campaigns.

    So the Republican party is splitting into two, an extremist faction still trying to create the "Project for the New American century", with an agenda of re-writing history, (like pretending 911 happened under the Democrats), and they are currently winning control of the Republicans and you see them head further and further out to the extreme.

  7. Justin Clements


    >>I proved McAtee's echo-chamber point during the 2008 presidential election without even knowing it by defriending anyone on my friend list who posted pro-John McCain or pro-Sarah Palin material, or who made derogatory - and sometimes downright racist - comments about Obama.

    What a vacuous individual you must be to "defriend" people who hold different views to yourself.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Begging the question

    "As 2010 opens and we prepare ourselves for another round of elections in the US in November it's worth reflecting on whether the internet - and social and web 2.0 properties - have an innate "liberal" bias, and whether that bias can serve Obama's party in the way it did during the 2008 campaign."

    Nice! You manage to ask a question and then presume it was answered, all within a single sentence.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Won't work

    As someone who gets labeled "conservative" on a regular basis, even though it's only I hate the Democrats, this approach won't work.

    The 2008 Obama campaign was a masterful deception, by keeping Obama as much of an enigma as possible people read in whatever they wanted to. How else would a man with little real world experience and a string of questionable associations get elected? Lightning struck and it won't happen twice, even some of the people who voted for Obama have waked up to what happened.

    Secondly, the Liberals/Democrats hold a virtual lock with the mainstream media, any attempt to create a new campaign on the web will be portrayed as what it is, a reactionary follow on.

    To truly re-invent themselves will require not a figurehead like Obama or a masterful campaign, but either a genuine leader or an altogether new party, neither of which I see happening soon.

    As it is the 2010 elections will likely go towards the Republicans for the same reason it went to to the Democrats a few years before, people are fed up with the party in power.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "How else would a man with little real world experience and a string of questionable associations get elected?"

      Are you talking about Obama or Dubya?

      (Come on, that was too easy)

  10. Morris Maynard

    Good article, but...

    Generally well thought-out article, thanks Elizabeth. I had one itsy quibble:

    "Maybe if we look under the hood, there is a liberal bias to popular social-media sites. But so what? It hasn't stopped conservatives one bit from using the web to promote their political agenda."

    What if it were:

    "Maybe if we look under the hood, there is a conservative bias to popular social-media sites. But so what?"

    Would it still be "So what?" Just saying.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Shurely Shome Mishtake

    Isn't The Intarpipes a modern ungodly abomination, like pluralism, evolution, homosexuality and dance music? What possible business would a good Republican have there? Bit of a stretch, I fear.

  12. Jim Oase

    Who makes your best decisions?

    For me making my own decisions when it affects mine or my families is important. I like the idea of customers deciding which companies succeed and fail. The unintended consequence of well intended government regulations is often deciding which business fails or which group is given rewards they didn't earn.

    Follow the money. There are now over 34,000 lobbyist in Washington, each raising their billing rates. How can that be in this age of economic downturn? Some company is going to get a part of money funds being doled out in Washington.

    There are 535 people controlling "we the people's" funds and 34,000 people trying to influence the legislators "we the people" elected on how to spend that money. These 34,000 lobbyist influence the 535 legislators by donating some of the "we the people's" money to the campaigns of the folks "we the people" elected to represent us. What is wrong with this picture?


  13. Lars Silver badge

    I just wonder

    The things we fight about are things we cannot alter.

    If you are born black then you are black, and there is nothing you can do about it. If you are born white then again you are white and that is that.

    Your country, your native tongue are equally things you never had a chance to vote about.

    If you are born in a republican family, a republican surrounding then you are most likely a republican.

    I wonder if all this gets so damned bloody because deep down we know we are being kicked in a spot of no defence.

  14. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    I'm not from over there but..

    the article to me reads like someone complaining or warning about their opposition gaining an even position ?

    "its not fair unless I'm in front" thinking ?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Misleading stat

    "Statistically speaking, people who use the internet most frequently are more educated, according to Tim McAtee, author of The State of Social Media Marketing and director of research at MarketingProfs. Since more-educated people tend to be liberal, there are likely more liberals using the Internet, he said."

    It's true that those with degrees tend to be liberal, but that's not surprising considering the current status of US universities as liberal/PC indoctrination centers. In other words, more web users may be infected with leftist views but hey, at least they gots a sheepskin, right?

  16. Eddy Ito

    Back in reality

    About half the population really doesn't care that much about either party and sides with what they see as the lesser of two evils and even then the more evil side has to be seen as sufficiently evil to actually motivate these folks into voting in the first place. Note that this doesn't mean folks are necessarily apathetic, just that they are smart enough to recognize there isn't much difference between the two big government parties. Given the lack of political zeal seen in this demographic, they probably don't produce much of a radar echo in either rabid sphere of the true believers and thereby go unnoticed by the fanbois. Note too that is most likely this group that is out busily producing and inventing the next great thing; what with all the time they are not wasting on twiddle, twaddle and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Oh, they probably weren't friendowing your tweetbookspace anyway.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Left wing pinko commies!

    "He said the tech community that still dominates the site leans decidedly to the left".

    A lot of Americans seem to think that Mussolini and Hitler were a little left wing...

  18. DrStrangeLug

    Liberal leanings of the tech sector ?

    Funny how any leftish leanings of any group get highlighted as political bias, but nobody every poitns out the rightish leanings of the finanicla world.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Extreme right is incompatible w democracy.

    Just as extreme left can also be a problem for freedom.

    So if you like 'freedom' of anything, you don't like extremists and therefore have 'liberal' leanings. And the GOP are pretty extreme far right! I mean not wanting to let people get patched up when ill injured because they would rather enrich insurance comps and big pharma.............

    'Freedom' (of the web, or anything else) is just as endangered under extreme right as it is under the extreme left. W and the GOP did more to undermine human rights than China did in the same period. They remained static. W and his skull and bones cronies went backwards at top speed.

    And anyone that doesn't know about gladio, condor etc should take note of what the extreme right have done over the years for freedom of speech, religion, expression etc etc. Moderation is where freedom flourishes.

  20. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    Who are the lobbyists lobbying?

    As Republicans are fewer now in the legislature than in recent years, scarcity value means the price of buying each one has gone up.

  21. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Biased Media?

    AC above, it is 'woken up', not 'waked up', so much for education

    Since Fox claims to be the most popular news channel, and Murdoch and other right wingersown much of the US Newspaper industry, I would suggest that the bias is on the right.

    Moreover Fox classifies most of its output as 'entertainment' and went to court to ensure that what ever it said there did not have to be true, Eg theyhave shown footageof well attended rallys when reporting poorly attended ones.

    Bill O'Reilly commited Fox on air, with Sarah Palin, as her spin and rapid rebuttal team

  22. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    Digg, Twitter, Facebook are all wonderful ways for the like-minded to talk with one another and reinforce their beliefs, while maintaining the belief that by golly they are doing something. But the 401K statements for the 3rd quarter of 2008 had vastly more to do with the election than all anything in the Daily Kos or Huffington Post.

  23. A. Budding Erudite

    'Floaters' not the problem.

    On ‘floaters’, the author writes, “They're too busy letting everyone on their Facebook friend list know they're a fan of the correct use of "there," "their" and "they're" to pay attention to something as frivolous as healthcare reform.” All three terms denote entirely different concepts, which if conveyed improperly (even if envisioned correctly) contributes to confusion over health-care and other similar issues. The general readership of the press was better educated 200 years ago than it is today. The much improved press technology today begs for a better educated general readership – not a dumber one. Writers in the press who not only fail to encourage this, but who would actually discourage it, ARE part of the problem -- not of the solution.

  24. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    There there

    While "their", "there', and "they're" are words with distinct functions - and when tired I have found myself typing the wrong one, and I consider myself literate - offhand I think it's always or usually clear which of them belongs in an otherwise grammatical sentence. So I think it IS just being over-picky. Perhaps you can think of a counter example, and of course it isn't true of other confuseable words. By all means illustrate the problem with 'it's / its", too.

  25. Myopic Aardvark

    Front page news

    Excellent - The Register ended up as front page news on Conservapedia...

    The mind boggles.

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