New York Times Salutes Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films
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Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films is garnering accolades for its hard-hitting, commercial free political videos, which are available for free online and circulate virally throughout the blogosphere. Greenwald's anti-McCain videos are racking up millions of hits and attracting the attention of big media players, including the Sunday New York Times (which has an even larger subscription than the weekday editions).
Times reporter Jim Rutenberg described the BNF phenomenon:
"The video blasted across the Internet, drawing political blood from Senator John McCain within a matter of days. It juxtaposed harsh statements about Islam made by the Rev. Rod Parsley with statements from Mr. McCain praising Mr. Parsley, a conservative evangelical leader. The montage won notice on network newscasts this spring and ultimately helped lead Mr. McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, to reject Mr. Parsleyâ€™s earlier endorsement."
Rutenberg notes that the "McCain videos, most of which portray the senator as contradicting himself in different settings, have been viewed more than five million times â€” more than Mr. McCainâ€™s own campaign videos have been downloaded on YouTube:
In previous elections, an attack like that would have come from party operatives, campaign researchers or the professional political hit men who orbit around them. But in the 2008 race, the first in which campaigns are feeling the full force of the changes wrought by the Web, the most attention-grabbing attacks are increasingly coming from people outside the political world. In some cases they are amateurs operating with nothing but passion, a computer and a YouTube account, in other cases sophisticated media types with more elaborate resources but no campaign experience.
The political and media establishments realizing what AlterNet fans have known for some time: User-generated video has changed the rules of American politics. These days, a citizen doesn't need a huge budget, or a network, or cable TV capacity to make powerful video and get it seen by millions. Dissemination is assisted by the progressive blogosphere, which in 2008 is plugged in to a vibrant infrastructure of news magazines, pundits, and videographers like Greenwald. This "Progosphere" is an echo chamber on the Internet, a tool for framing and messaging that far outstrips anything progressives had at their disposal previously.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.