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We should not be surprised about the speed or the impact of information. Francis McInerney’s main point is about how the falling price of information has us all operating at, to use a Star Trek term, “warp speed”.
Coupled with Moore’s Law about how the processing speed of computers doubles every 18 months and the price drops in half, you have so many implications related to how we function in today’s electronic world and do not even realize what is happening. Even if we have access to the most sophisticate information infrastructure-like the media does-people and emotions can still fool the experts at their own game.
Take the New Hampshire Primary. All the experts had predicted, based on all the polls and the average of all the polls, Hilary Clinton would lose by double digits. Even a seasoned expert like Bob Woodward of Watergate fame admitted he wrote talking points in advance of his appearance with Larry King as a commentator on CNN which he discarded after the results came in from the actual voting. His former companion Carl Bernstein and the less than objective Lou Dobbs, earlier in the coverage admitted how they were fooled by the polls. Even Diane Rehm this morning on her NPR Show and the experts still didn’t get it. They did mention “alligator tears” but that only questioned Senator Clinton’s sincerity.
I would suggest they were fooled by the speed of information and the technology which on the one hand, allowed for the coffeehouse tear to appear on the evening news everywhere, especially New Hampshire. And by doing so, projected an emotional moment precipitated by a question from a female in the group (who incidentally did not even vote for Clinton the next day) to be one of the best examples of how technology can impact us all with an emotion. The tear dominated the moment which the polls were unable to measure fast enough. When I heard the audio from the coffeehouse on my way home from work on Monday night, I knew something had changed in that race. Not the news flash on the Internet, but the actual voice and later the video created the impact no pollster could measure. The only question was how the New Hampshire voters and the rest of the primaries would be impacted.
Ah, if Burl Ives were alive today! He would see how a little tear let the media and the pundits down.

Posted by Anastacio Bueno on 12th January, 2008 | Comments | Trackbacks

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