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A few ramblings about Monday's YouTube debate:

1) CNN tried hard to play up the "revolutionary" angle, but there really wasn't anything super exciting about the debate. Sure, the moderator was young, hip, sexy (ask any girl I know...) Anderson Cooper, but the debate was basically a town hall format transposed to the 21st century. Questions were, after all, screened by CNN, so nothing revolutionary was going to get through.

2) Instead of revolutionary questions, CNN focused on unorthodox delivery.
I'm a huge fan of YouTube humor, and rednecks are funny, but is having people dressed as rednecks really informative in any way, shape, or form? And I'm not going to lie: I cried inside when they had a snowman ask the question on global warming. Here's a surefire way NOT to get one of the most serious issues facing America taken seriously: animatronic snowmen. I can just see Inhofe playing that clip on the Senate floor.

3) As always, the biggest problem was the format. Seven and a half people, standing side-by-side on a stage, delivering their own little 90-second soliloquies with the occasional Anderson-moderated response. Wouldn't it be infinitely more exciting and revolutionary to just let the candidates go at it?

All told, the debate was a huge improvement over the last few, but still left me disappointed-- not in our field, which is by all accounts terrific, but in the media that mangles politics time and time again. Until they get it right, I'm going to go watch Gordon Brown fisticuff his parliament on Question Time.



Jenna L said...

All in all, I think you're right, Or. Every blog the next day declared YouTube the only winner, and they were all spot on.

Regarding the candidates, I thought Hillary was solid (as usual), and Joe Biden really distinguished himself. For the first time, I'll just say he's one of my favorites (instead of one of my guilty favorites).

On a different note, did anyone notice that Richardson didn't get to open his mouth until 25 minutes in? And Chris Dodd had like three direct questions before Obama had one? CNN's question selection was... bizarre.

Chris said...

i agree with most of your observations, though I do think the format has some benefits.

Most notably it allows for some degree of geographic diversity. Debates no longer have to cater to a certain region (Iowa, South Carolina etc.) or a certain demographic (black, labor etc.), but can be a debate about a broad number of topics for a broader audience.

Some would say this is a bad thing and that debates SHOULD focus on a single topic or be for the benefit of a single group, but I think in balance w/ single issue debates, this type of format could be very effective at engaging wider audiences in typically boring debates.

Liz Fossett said...

and, yes, let's be honest none of those guys (or lady) had a chance to get my attention away from anderson.

seriously though, there were just too many distractions. maybe youtube isn't the next big thing for debates. perhaps they should keep their political participation to embarassing politicians and encouragign more "insert candidate name" girl videos...

OrSkolnik said...

I just had a strong urge to produce a "gravel girl" video...