Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Elitists of the Center

Political strategists to launch Web site

A bipartisan group of prominent political strategists on Tuesday announced an Internet information venture designed to interact with America's opinion leaders and serve as an antidote to the right-left clash that typifies political discourse on the Web.

It's definitely a bipartisan group, with a centrist agenda. The former chief political writer for the AP (I was seeing his bylines as recently as a few months ago, it seems) will be the editor.

Despite their political backgrounds and distinct party affiliations, Hotsoup founders said the site will provide a nonpartisan forum not just for politics, but for topics ranging from science to popular culture, from business to current affairs.

The article talks about "using the Internet to create an online social network similar to the popular teenage Web retreat MySpace.com," hopefully without the underaged nudity and propensity for attracting mass-murderers.

But this part stuck in my craw:

Hotsoup's target audience will be opinion leaders around the country who use the Internet to help make up their minds.

The Web site would connect these local opinion leaders with high-profile newsmakers who influence national opinion. Newsmakers would post essays, respond to reader questions and debate the issues. Participants could rate the arguments, much like readers post book reviews on Amazon.com.

Hotsoup's founders estimate there are 30 million such opinion drivers scattered across the country whom friends, neighbors and fellow citizens rely upon for advice.

Citing public opinion research, Fournier said, "At least one out of 10 Americans tell the other nine what to buy, how to vote, where to eat, and that literally is the group of people we're going after."