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Summary:

Though I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tuned in this afternoon, I found the inaugural YouTube-CNN Democratic presidential candidate debate really engaging. The candidates’ answers were a mix of informative and blustery politicking, but the 39 YouTube-submitted questions elicited much more personal and, at […]

Though I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tuned in this afternoon, I found the inaugural YouTube-CNN Democratic presidential candidate debate really engaging. The candidates’ answers were a mix of informative and blustery politicking, but the 39 YouTube-submitted questions elicited much more personal and, at times, light-hearted responses than the usual fare.

Though YouTube’s ubiquity isn’t always a good thing, it’s great that they had enough clout to get this done — and I hope it’s a lasting tradition. Though the novelty may wear off, perhaps the terrible video-of-a-projected-video camerawork will improve. Another take is embedded below, and more can be found here.

Some questions I had high hopes for fell flat — barely anyone actually answered “say something you like and something you dislike about the candidate to your left” — while others drew out varied and interesting responses — the differences between answers to “would you work for the minimum wage?” were telling. And hearing questions about healthcare from a woman fighting breast cancer, and about gay marriage from two women who asked if they might marry each other, made political abstraction look all the more silly.

The program also included a sprinkling of campaign-produced “YouTube-style” (which doesn’t mean anything, but whatever) videos from the candidates, and it was particularly interesting to see the debaters placed on the same level as their interoggators, mostly looking self-satisfied when the CNN camera cut to them watching their own ads. An attack ad seems just a little bit more accountable when the seven people you’re attacking are standing on the same stage as you while it plays.

  1. It was definitely entertaining, but some may have noticed that there was only one question asking a candidate to defend their actual policies. The rest were simply opportunities to speechify.

    If you’d like to send CNN a message and suggest they choose better questions next time, watch the 1 second video at the link. With enough views it might shame Youtube into doing a better job.

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  2. [...] by Om Malik Monday, July 23, 2007 at 10:08 PM PT | No comments The Politics of You Tube: Though YouTube’s ubiquity isn’t always a good thing, it’s great that they had enough clout [...]

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  3. yeah i was surprised how good this debate was- I agree the camera work was pretty bad- but I think the youtube-ness of the whole evening forced candidates to be a little more honest, since if their audience was savvy enough to submit videos on youtube, they’re prob less likely to buy into certain talking points, can’t wait for the republicans though..

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  4. [...] Debate on the Rocks? Political blogs are picking up reports that Republican interest in the CNN-YouTube debates may be flagging. Rudy Giuliani may be dropping out due to “unspecified scheduling [...]

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  5. [...] Presidential debate was supposed to straddle the line between the staid traditional debates and the YouTube debate that happened earlier this year. Slate, Huffington Post, and Yahoo audiences could submit questions [...]

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  6. [...] to Translate Web to TV? Not Clip Shows TV shows featuring online clips — from YouTube debates to ABC’s i-Caught to even the original VH1’s Web Junk — are just awkward. [...]

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  7. [...] Debate Spawns a Trend We’ve had our nitpicks with the CNN-YouTube debates, but you’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool to see [...]

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  8. [...] had our nitpicks with the CNN-YouTube debates, but you’ve got to confess it’s pretty cool to [...]

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  9. [...] will be through a computer screen. But the company’s grab bag of offline events — the CNN-YouTube debates, YouTube Live, and last night’s YouTube Symphony Orchestra — are nonetheless [...]

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