Analyzing the CNN-YouTube Debate


On July 23 (last night as I write this), CNN and YouTube joined forces to host a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates.

No deep political analysis here, other than to state that I think most people have their minds made up ahead of time. A debate probably won’t sway them one way or another. Also, candidates often sidestepped the questions, as they are wont to do in any Q&A event.

This is intended to be a brief media analysis. YouTube TV star wannabees uploaded videos that contained questions for the candidates. Others were humorous songs and vignettes directed at them. Some of those attempts were lame, and I’m being very kind when I say that.

This was a good attempt at crossover promotion for both media entities. CNN got the younger new media crowd to check out or revisit the cable TV news pioneer, and YouTube understood that to really be “big time”, you’ve got be on the “big screen.”

The sticky issue among YouTubers was that CNN personnel screened and picked the videos instead of letting YouTubers go through thier normal voting process. I understand CNN’s point of view on this one. It’s their house, and they want to maintain quality control. They wanted to avoid the crap that American Idol goes through, with viewers voting for the worst singers, a la Sanjaya. Another issue is balance. Fiftenn questions on the same issue would be booooorrrrrinnnngggggg! CNN did miss some important issues, such as illegal immigration. I can’t imagine that nobody had a question about one of today’s hottest topics!


In the end, both CNN and YouTube got a lot of publicity before, during, and after the debate. As did the candidates. If the purpose was to raise awareness of CNN, YouTube, and the 2008 primaries, mission accomplished!

Footnote: On the day after, it’s interesting to note that CNN has the story front and center on their home page, while YouTube doesn’t even mention it.

Wednesday, July 25: The Newsweek Diet


2 thoughts on “Analyzing the CNN-YouTube Debate

  1. I gotta believe that CNN screened the YouTube entries to be sure they (CNN) didn’t come off looking as foolish as most YouTube content. While you’ll stumble across an occasional gem at YouTube, most of it is insipid nonsense, made by morons to entertain morons.

    Shoot. What better place for a presidential debate, eh? What was I thinking.

  2. I wonder how the button-down GOP candidates will handle it when their chance comes. The Dems at least seem to be a bit hipper and more open to answering questions from two lesbians on a video.

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