Daniel Hannan sounds a bit befuddled by the viral breakout of the verbal blitzkrieg he launched at Gordon Brown on the occasion of the Prime Minister's visit to the European Parliament. The clip became the most-watched video on YouTube in less than 48 hours. As he says, he has "been making similar speeches every week and posting them on YouTube for the past seven months." But for whatever reason, the wisdom of the masses chose this particular speech, and in 24 hours an obscure representative to an opaque transnational government that few Americans know or care much about has gained an international following:
How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what's news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day's headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting.All Hail the New Media!!
Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly. Ten or even five years ago, when the Minister for Widgets put out a press release, the mere fact of his position guaranteed a measure of coverage. Nowadays, a politician must compel attention by virtue of what he is saying, not his position.
It's all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it's good news for libertarians of every stripe. Lefties have always relied on control, as much of information as of physical resources. Such control is no longer technically feasible.