Dave Winer at Microsoft: RSS, politics, and journalism

I got in late. Dave is on stage now talking about evolution of RSS as a format:

…aggregators both on web in channels and reverse chronological order. We now have “thousands and thousands” of feeds, both big pubs and small publishers. And through this same interface you get both. And you can get triangulation.

Which leads into the next part of the story. It’s a short drive to New Hampshire; it’s retail politics. And we made a conscious decision to go. And the difference between us covering the story as amateurs and professionals is that professionals remove themselves from the story, and we don’t. And I think it’s more honest to tell about how you got there. And people joke about blogs about people’s cats, but I don’t mind that. Because it tells you where they’re coming from and you can figure out their point of view. And places like the New York Times claim they’re coming at it from objectivity, and from my experience that’s not necesarily true, they bring their viewpoint.

And a lot of us were Dean supporters. And though Jim Moore had a role as Director of Internet and something, and the campaign had bloggers and a campaign blog, I don’t think the Dean campaign ever accepted the Internet in that they didn’t bring what they saw (not the truth, because we know that’s complex, but just what they saw) to their coverage. And it came down to me being at campaign hq, the night of the scream, and Dean said, “We finished third.” And I tried to put it in the RSS feed–not the campaign blog, but the feed for all news about the campaign. And I couldn’t do it.

I can understand that, because it’s like taking bad news about Microsoft and putting it on the PR page at Microsoft.com. But maybe you should do that, because maybe the right thing is not what you want the customer to hear but what an educated customer would want to know. And if the Dean campaign had done that, then while the networks were playing the scream over and over, readers could have gone to one channel where there was a real honest perspective.