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Schmidt Shows GOP How Web Sways Public

  • Reuters, Thursday, November 30, 2006 11:30 AM
At a conference in Miami yesterday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Republicans they should make better use of the Internet if they want to win next time. Web giants and Web consumers have big-time electioneering power, he said, file-sharing sites like YouTube in particular. Video sites change the political landscape by allowing anyone to widely disseminate information instantly.

Schmidt said the island kingdom of Bahrain got a healthy dose of the Web's power when someone used Google Earth's satellite map in the run-up to its elections. The shots showed the ruling family's lavish houses juxtaposed with the ordinary homes of the kingdom's citizens. Once the government tried to censor the photos, they became that much more popular, he said.

U.S. Rep John Murtha (D-Pa.) felt the Web's wrath after someone resurrected secretly recorded footage of him talking with Arab sheiks in an FBI bribery sting in the late 1970s. Murtha was later acquitted, but he lost his bid to be House Majority Leader as a result.

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