Friday, June 15, 2007

As Long As They Don't Ask Candidates to Raise Their Hands

So What do I think of the CNN/YouTube joint effort on the debates to have citizens post their questions on YouTube for the candidates to answer?

Okay, the question from the Hillary bot about healthcare was pretty cool, and even the JibJab style Bush puppet didn't hack me off, but overall this is a pretty poor excuse for participatory democracy. The sample question videos emphasized the most self-interested version of the personal is political, with people asking about check-cashing centers in their neighborhoods and post traumatic stress disorder among veterans in their families rather than showing citizens actually engage with policy. I also thought it was interesting to see hucksters try to link their videos to what is likely a "most watched" YouTube bandwagon and the number of people hawking unrelated video content who were listed as respondents to the call for questions. Although The New York Times praises this new opportunity for visual rhetoric in "YouTube Passes Debates to a New Generation," I'm not inspired by what I see so far. Then again, maybe they'll have the Obama Girl ask a question.

Update: Okay, I have to add this question from one of my favorite YouTube celebrities, the creator of the infamous "Hotness Prevails / Worst Video Ever."

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