The internet revolutionized presidential politics and news coverage. In 2008, many candidates announced their intention to run via online videos, used the internet to raise money and rally support, and got their messages to the public without the filter of traditional media. Though Barack Obama wasn’t the first candidate to use the internet, his mastery of social networking set a new standard for how campaigns are waged. The internet reaches more voters but makes it harder for candidates to escape scrutiny. Campaign news, good or bad, goes viral in minutes, but sometimes speed trumps accuracy.
Huffington Post blogger Mayhill Fowler used this digital recorder to capture controversial comments that sent reporters scrambling during the 2008 campaign. Fowler recorded Democratic candidate Barack Obama saying that some “bitter” working-class voters “cling to guns or religion.” She also captured former President Bill Clinton insulting a reporter, sparking a backlash against Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. The lesson: On the internet, anyone can break news.