Internet self-publishing (blogs) have introduced a genuine element of volatility into the political system. Anyone who watched the Terri Schiavo meme unfold would have noticed how it could take unexpected turns, almost like a live and squirming thing. Indeed, some have argued that the Schiavo story damaged President Bush and the Republican Party. However that may be, it should be clear that Internet memes do not behave like ad campaigns. They are far more uncontrollable and dangerous than the public relations objects of yesteryear. There is a certain irony in the fact that the Gomery inquiry is dealing with a corrupt public relations ad campaign (Adscam) costing hundreds of millions of dollars that is now being done to death by a blog costing several hundred dollars. That fact alone and what is implied by it should give pause.
My own view is that as the world becomes more dependent on information, the cost of purposely maintaining error grows ever higher. It is becoming too expensive to maintain an elaborate lie. The effort necessary to maintain apparent consistency with verifiable information simply grows to high too be worth it. Any database professional knows that the principal strategic danger to information assets is not a physical crash; there are recovery strategies to deal with that. The strategic danger is bad data. A company can recover from a server crash in a few hours; but it can never recover from persistently inaccurate information about its own operations. No information professionals except politicians will knowingly admit self-deception into their sanctum. And the Internet will make them pay the price for that.
Worth thinking about.