The Cult of the Amateur and the Democratic Debates
It seems as if there are two determining factors. The first is whether you are a new or old media sort of person. New media people generally think it will be important. Old media people think it won’t be. People who want to see ‘professionals’ handling our political discourse, those who like Keen’s Cult of the Amateur think it won’t be. Those who believe in Jeffersonian democracy think it will be important.
That is, of course, leads to the second factor. Will CNN gatekeep the debate too closely? That is the factor that causes some new media fans to worry that the event won’t be successful. Yet for people that want a more democratic democracy, to poke a little further fun at Mr. Keen, two candidates will open the gates a little wider, no matter how well or poorly CNN does.
Sen. Edwards and Sen. Dodd are both going to be answering questions from supporters and the Community Counts website. After the televised debate is over Sen. Edwards will answer additional questions on his website, while Sen. Dodd will do the same on his.
As an aside, I read Dodd’s email immediately after I read one of those endless spam emails telling me where I could buy medications that would make me “the most confident man in town”. Dodd’s email was entitled “Sometimes sixty seconds isn’t enough”. I almost skipped it, thinking it was more of the same.
So, is democracy something that we should leave to the professionals, or do we believe that all citizens should have a voice in the political process? After seeing the way the mainstream media is covering the election so far, with its focus on fundraising, haircuts, polls and not on issues, it will be pretty hard for the amateurs to do a worse job than we’ve seen so far.