Whole New World

I spent most of this morning combing microfiche at the Salt Lake City library, more on that later. Aside from my realization that there is real business opportunity in converting newspaper archives to digital combined with even a rough OCR index, I found my activities of pillaging old newspapers a marked contradiction from today’s news.

Thirty years ago, a politician could say something outlandish and off the cuff to a private audience in a rural Utah town and expect it to not be national news the next day. However, the democratization of reporting through the Internet turns that assumption on its head. Soon one person picks up on the story, then it starts to spread. Suddenly its everywhere and you’re winning awards. Finally, you have to back pedal. It would have worked if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids and their Interwebs!

My worthy opposition should not feel bad about being burned by the Internet (again). He is in good company underestimating the power of the Internet. Fellow members of congress have attempted to edit biographies on Wikipedia. Having used the Internet since 1987, I realize there is more about me out there than I wish. I haven’t been grooming myself for a career in politics since an early age. Yet I fully realize that attempting to censor and retract my history looks worse than just being honest about it. What must scare traditional politicians to death is that now their words do not disappear. Campaign promises are not buried inside microfiche. Any constituent with a good grip on Google can do their own research and find the contradictions, the votes, the rhetoric and ascertain the character of the candidate outside the marketed image.

This shift is good for America, but bad for the status quo of Washington. It is encouraging to me is that this change is unstoppable. No matter how much money is spent on traditional marketing and media, the power of communication and technology will always overwhelm those who attempt to control it.

14 thoughts on “Whole New World

  1. Pete, it was nice to meet you on Saturday at the UVSC meeting. I’m glad to see that when it comes to the internet, you get it. Your idea of using a wiki for policy collaboration and problem solving is very good. And it’s so foreign to Washington that it may be a while until they see it. Best of luck.

  2. Hi Pete,

    You’re right about not grooming yourself. I didn’t start getting involved until 2003, and now I look back on a history of growing up, being tossed out of my family and fighting my way back, owning a business and going bankrupt because I wanted to raise my kids, getting divorced and married again. None of these things are great capital for someone involved in politics. But they’re part of my history. A history that has turned me into the person I am. A person who will now stop at nothing to reverse the destruction of my country and my world. Thanks for giving me a reason to keep moving forward regardless.

  3. How refreshing would it be to have a Senator in office who is what he a appears to be, warts and all, and doesn’t insult his constituency by talking out of both sides of his mouth? I’m sure we’ll find out this year. Pete Ashdown for senate!

  4. Pete,
    I am looking forward to talking with you tomorrow at the Davis County Democrats dinner. In “Common Sense” Thomas Paine speaking of the kings states, “For the fate of Charles the First, hath only made Kings more subtle, not more just.” I like to say For the Fate of Richard Nixon, hath only made the Republicans more subtle, not more just. Thank goodness the media and the internet are available to hold them accountable for their misdeeds. We have to bring the nation back to honesty, empathy, and honor. None of which we have now. Bless you Pete. You have all of my support.

  5. Pete,
    Please, please get a story with your take on this in the MSM as well. As you are well aware, not everyone reads blogs and internetsy type stuff. You need to come down hard on Hatch when he makes up sh*t like this and it needs to be in the local media outlets!

  6. That’s great! Is the press release posted anywhere on the website? I will keep an eye out for anything in the local papers about it. If they don’t report on it, I’ll be inclined to write an LTE.

    All I can say about “grabbing their attention” is: I’ll bet!

    ps. I apologize if the HTML code shows up, I’m curious to see if it works in your comments area.

  7. Pete, I find it interesting that my husband and I were talking the other night that there’s probably A LOT of great people out there that could run for political office but their history stops them from doing so. I’m glad to see others are thinking the same way. Most of us don’t have the money or connections to keep things hushed up. More power to Chad Lupkes in his comments.(#2 comment) My husband feels exactly the same way as Chad. Keep up the GREAT work Pete.

  8. Heh. Does coding questionable Amiga software count as a checkered past? 🙂

    Just came across your site. Pretty amazing what you’ve done with the campaign!

  9. Hi all and Go Pete!

    This is coming from an Australian – I hope your campaign goes well. I actually wrote an article a while ago about the Great Pete Ashdown and I don’t think I remembered to send it to you at the time. In case anyone is interested, it’s archived on my blog here:

    It’s CC licenced, so you can cut, copy and paste it as much as you like.

    Oh, and some advice to you yanks – please start getting serious about who you guys elect to office. The rest of the world will only be laughing harder at America if you keep up your current streak, so for the sake of everyone who DOESN’T have nuclear weapons, please start voting responsibly.


    Alex H

  10. Pete,

    There is a lot going on in the public sector too, regarding digitizing newspapers. The Marriott Library, and the USU and BYU libraries have teamed up to produce http://www.digitalnewspapers.org which has scanned, OCRed, and offers for free public viewing, over 500,000 pages of early Utah Newspapers.

    You should definitely check it out. As someone who has been involved with the project since the beginning, I can say that we’re rather proud of it.

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