Politicians To Debate Questions From YouTubers

from the politics-not-quite-as-usual dept

The political debates tend to be pretty boring — and you can pick up any of the good highlights off of YouTube (or the Daily Show) afterwards anyway. However, CNN is apparently teaming up with YouTube to let YouTubers ask questions for the next debate (this one between Democratic candidates; there will be a similar YouTube experience for Republican candidates later this year). Now, some will quickly decry this as being ridiculous — as many of the questions will likely be terrible. That’s not the point, however. There will likely be a few good ones, and the ability to plan it out and create a video with supporting info could mean that the candidates are actually asked interesting, challenging and different questions — rather than the bland ones the official talking heads usually offer up. Of course, all of the questions will still be filtered through CNN, so it’s likely that some of the best questions may get filtered out. Knowing CNN, they’ll probably let in one or two “wacky” questions, just to show how hip they are with this YouTube thing.

Still, the more important point (which not many seem to be paying attention to) is that it doesn’t really matter which videos or chosen or that the candidates will be taking questions via YouTube. What’s interesting is that this is the type of thing that could get more people both involved and aware of the process. The average person sitting at home behind his or her computer screen isn’t likely to get a chance to ask a presidential candidate a question. Now, anyone with a webcam has the potential to do so. That has got to get at least a few smart people more involved than they ever would have been otherwise. And, that alone seems like a good thing. It will be interesting to see if some of the questions that don’t get chosen by the talking heads on CNN end up generating lots of interest by themselves on YouTube — even to the point of forcing more candidates to respond after the debate (which actually would be even better, since it would remove the silly debate restrictions on the candidates as well). If that happens, then it would seem that the YouTube debate idea could be seen as a huge success.


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Comments on “Politicians To Debate Questions From YouTubers”

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5 Comments
Sanguine Dream says:

Publicity stunt or acutal interest...

I’m forced to wonder if the candidates are doing this in a genuine interest in getting their word out in as many places as possible or do want to generate just enough interest with the “hip crowd” to get some extra votes.

This has the potential to end as a worthwhile effort or a political disaster. Either internet hipsters will feel like they do matter to the political process or they will see through the smoke screen and retreat further into seclusion and it will be years before any major internet political effort is launched again.

Anonymous Coward says:

I seriously doubt I am alone in my contempt for this current and puerile mania to record one’s personal thoughts and post a video on the Internet for all to see. In fact, I regard this trend as very dangerous. The right to privacy is a very tenuous thing. Justice Frankfurter called it a “penumbra” (a shadow of a shadow) of the law. It exists only for so long as the majority of people guard their privacy. When enough people, caught up in the on-line craze, open their personal lives and thoughts for world-wide consumption, the right to privacy will be forever lost.

Please refrain from encouraging people to “go public.” You are, unwittingly to be sure, encouraging people to trade privacy for publicity—hardly a trade worth making. No political campaign efforts will ever be important enough to destroy the fundamental rights of the American people in the process.

This also smacks of elitism and a further commercialization of the election process. Taking only video questions is a sly way of promoting a commericial venture like You-Tube while it shuts out of the process the vast majority of the American electorate.

Or do these people believe that only people with cameras and a hunger for self-promotion are worthy to participate?

Steve C says:

I seriously doubt I am alone in my contempt for this current and puerile mania to record one’s personal thoughts and post a video on the Internet for all to see. In fact, I regard this trend as very dangerous. The right to privacy is a very tenuous thing. Justice Frankfurter called it a “penumbra” (a shadow of a shadow) of the law. It exists only for so long as the majority of people guard their privacy. When enough people, caught up in the on-line craze, open their personal lives and thoughts for world-wide consumption, the right to privacy will be forever lost.

Please refrain from encouraging people to “go public.” You are, unwittingly to be sure, encouraging people to trade privacy for publicity—hardly a trade worth making. No political campaign efforts will ever be important enough to destroy the fundamental rights of the American people in the process.

This also smacks of elitism and a further commercialization of the election process. Taking only video questions is a sly way of promoting a commericial venture like You-Tube while it shuts out of the process the vast majority of the American electorate.

Or do these people believe that only people with cameras and a hunger for self-promotion are worthy to participate?

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