With presidential candidates embracing online video — Tom Vilsack is posting vlog entries to blip.tv and John Edwards is stumping on YouTube — the 2008 presidential election is set to be a watershed for online campaigning. Now, Reuters is reporting that the Huffington Post is looking into setting up debates between the candidates online. What would such an event look like?
The Web could offer a more flexible format than television debates, and ideas under discussion include fielding questions from a wide audience online, letting candidates join by video from different locations, and inviting reporters to monitor the event from one location.
Something tells me that we won’t be seeing candidates tapping out leetspeak into an IRC channel, and that any actual interactivity with the audience will be severely limited. In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d say that the event will end up just as scripted and manicured as a regular television debate. The chances we’ll see Hillary Clinton attacked with flying penises are slim to none.