Archive for November 26th, 2007

I have a political question for today:

Are folks in America as hot over the YouTube “debates” as they look to be from out here where CNN comes only in brief, but enthusiastic spurts?

I heard the hype leading up to the Democrats doing their version of “Who Do You Trust”, and now that it’s Republicans about to step into the limelight, it seems the same attempt at frenzy whipping is happening.

For the first time in presidential debate history, user-generated video will drive two unprecedented debates.

Be still, my pounding heart.

Do people actually perceive this song and dance as some sort of prime example of true democracy in action? Or does everyone know that these are just the latest “reality programming” offerings, but with a longer wait for gratification as there is a bit of a twist on the voting procedures?

Is the process to choose a new leader of the free world now the same as deciding who is in and who is out of the house, off the island, the next pop star du jour?

Voters must realize that there is nothing democratic in the process that decides which videos make the cut, which don’t get a second look, and which are only used as teasers in the ad campaign leading up to the show. Someone with quite the agenda in tow is picking and choosing. The manipulation has to be obvious to one and all, and surely the idea of CNN in charge must give pause for thought. Mustn’t it?

“YouTube enables voters and candidates to communicate in a way that simply was not possible during the last election,” said Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube. “For the first time in the history of presidential debates, voters from around the country will be able to ask the future president of the United States a question in video form and hear the answer.”

“These debates take the bold step of embracing the ever-increasing role of the Internet in politics,” said Jim Walton, CNN Worldwide president. “The inclusion of the massive online community enables these debates to engage more viewers – and potential voters – than ever before.”


So putting debate questions in “video form” somehow elevates that material above the living room dialog of the Iowa Caucuses or the coffee stops in New Hampshire? And because this was “simply not possible during the last election” it’s assumed to be a good thing?

Suppose next time around it’s possible to pose YouCube questions to candidates in 3D, will that guarantee a freer, less corrupt America and assure that the person with the most votes wins?

All one must do to get the true point of this for CNN is to substitute good demographic market targets where Jim Walton parenthetically positioned “potential voters”.

Want to embrace the ever-increasing roll of the Internet in politics? Get candidates to start blogs where anyone can ask questions, make comments, demand straight answers, and be able to search archives. Sure, it would be a massive amount of work, but politics ain’t for sissies … plus they could do it in their jammies from anywhere.

If Americans are truly concerned about moving the election process into the 21st Century, they should be demanding an end to the Electoral College instead of letting Anderson Cooper run the show.

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