However you come out on the politics of the “to-fund or not-to-fund” ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) issue, the radical change in House and Senate’s support for funding of the organization (or defunding as the case may be) is an excellent example of the impact of new media technologies. Information travels across new media distribution channels out of the control of mass media, and corporate and government agendas. In this case, according to Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner, new media sources played a significant role in forcing Washington to address the ACORN issue.
Democrats voted 172-75 to defund ACORN; Republicans voted 173-0 to do so. This would not have occurred but for http://biggovernment.com/ the Big Government videos of ACORN employees encouraging tax evasion and prostitution. “Mainstream media” studiously ignored this big, big story, because it put Obama’s political allies in ACORN in a bad light–such an egregious bit of biased coverage that it aroused derision and contempt from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
Whether or not you even agree with Barone’s interpretation, you have to admit that new media is making its mark on politics. From text messages to encourage votes to viral videos that impact funding, if you ignore the power of an interconnected network to distribute information, you do so at your peril—or embarrassment. Just as social media networks have tremendous power to support a cause; they can equally expose a transgression.