Video: Glenn Reynolds and Ana Marie Cox on the CNN YouTube debate

posted at 1:21 pm on July 22, 2007 by Allahpundit

They can go two ways with it — dry, serious queries on niche topics or self-consciously offbeat crap that showcases the “spirit of the Web.” Count on some of both. A teaser:

“There’s not going to be a foolish, gotcha question because we’re not out there to stump,” Bohrman said. “We’re out there to actually see how people who want to be president think and handle issues and questions and people that are slightly outside of their comfort zones.”

“There are questions that we, the journalists, we, the mainstream media, would never think to ask in the presidential debate,” Bohrman said.

It’ll be mighty interesting to see what sorts of questions qualify as ones CNN “would never think to ask.” It sounds like they’re setting it up to embarrass the candidates, which is exactly what they should do. The YouTube voice-of-the-people dynamic gives them perfect cover. They could float “I question the timing” questions about terror attacks, questions about whether the candidates are “troubled” by the extent of Israeli influence on the United States, etc etc, and shrug off the criticism on grounds that that’s what “the people” are interested it. Just one nutroots talking point after another, and if anyone calls them on it they’d simply point to the fact that YouTube skews hard left and call it a representative sample. Their one mistake was letting their own editors choose all of the questions instead of letting the ‘Tubers choose, say, a top ten. That would have let CNN have its cake by inserting some bona fide freak show material into the event and eat it too by disclaiming all responsibility for the choices of YouTube users. Call it an opportunity missed. After all, no one’s watching these things to hear the same canned policy answers they’ve heard before. It’s worthless political theater. Make them perform.

If they air a question from a Truther about 9/11, the whole experiment will have been worth it.


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It’ll be mighty interesting to see what sorts of questions qualify as ones CNN “would never think to ask.” It sounds like they’re setting it up to embarrass the candidates,

Just what candidates will CNN embarrass and what candidates or candidate do they let slide without any tough questions?

abinitioadinfinitum on July 22, 2007 at 1:33 PM

Off-topic:

Thanks for posting that link to the “France Will Never Forget” site. That really warmed my heart.

Professor Blather on July 22, 2007 at 1:38 PM

Off-topic: Thanks for posting that link to the “France Will Never Forget” site. That really warmed my heart.
Professor Blather on July 22, 2007 at 1:38 PM

Yeah, from me, too. I wouldn’t mind seeing France again someday.

Blake on July 22, 2007 at 1:47 PM

Maybe Rosie O’ could even submit a question since she doesn’t have any other outlet…..

Hhhmmmmm….

Well………

Just trying to give practical suggestions for implementing the Fairness Doctrine.

Mcguyver on July 22, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Oh my God Glenn Reynolds is a robot. :-O

Lincoln on July 22, 2007 at 2:08 PM

Jessica Biel strips?

Kevin M on July 22, 2007 at 2:21 PM

Tell us Bryan, How would you get a large amount of the American populace to listen to the canidates? If not televised debates, even innovative outside the box debates, then how?

I’m sure if FOX News were doing this you would have no trouble at all comming to grips with all the moral and ethical dilemmas.

PresidenToor on July 22, 2007 at 2:44 PM

Obama Girl is cute! Too bad she’s not so smart.

A YouTube debate is a pretty good idea! I agree with Allahpundit, missed opportunity by CNN since they are choosing the questions. Result: same questions in a more entertaining way. Ultimate result: same ol’ answers.

Ordinary1 on July 22, 2007 at 3:04 PM

Bit of a content warning on this one…

I want someone to ask the f*gg*t how much one of these are.

csdeven on July 22, 2007 at 3:16 PM

The site includes the questions sent so far along with some tips for users on on how to help get their video chosen.

This gives handlers/advisors/stylists/etc. the opportunity to review all submissions ahead of time, in addition to the editing by CNN.

No “spontaneity” or “authenticity” as good Glenn said. Questions from a live audience are about the only impromptu method there is to test a candidate’s brain, wit, authenticity, good/bad sense, not to mention his/her reality check or unrehearsed belief system.

I’ve always thought that A. M. Cox “you know” is a gimmick. She seems to favor the word. She does have somewhat of a reality sense since she doesn’t take this too seriously, nor expects others to.

Entelechy on July 22, 2007 at 3:41 PM

Obama Boy? I don’t really think that’s what Obama wants. A Silky Pony Boy, on the other hand, …

This whole idea that getting people who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in politics into watching Youtool videos, I don’t see the point. A better idea would be to not spread the word so much that there is an election, and those people wouldn’t know they were missing anything, and only people who are serious about this country would know when to go and vote. The way things are going now, fan videos will lose novelty and the candidates themselves will be in videos shaking their butts.

pedestrian on July 22, 2007 at 5:47 PM

When I first heard of these debates, I thought it might be something different. Maybe a chnce to see some solid “entertainment” or maybe even no talking points for the Dims. Then I found out how the questions were being chosen. They might throw a couple of offbeat ones to lighten the mood. But I don’t see anything earth-shattering coming.
Just wait until the Republican youtube debate. That’s when the embarrassing questions will come out. Probably all selected by youtube users.

PowWow on July 22, 2007 at 6:18 PM

Again, they put the conservative up against a cute redhead. Glenn Reynolds didn’t have a chance.

- The Cat

P.S. Obama Boy muahaha give it a week and I bet it happens. Unless Hillary’s team beats em to the punch.

MirCat on July 22, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Try turning up the sound on AMCOX. It’s a whole different experience.

saved on July 23, 2007 at 10:11 AM

Maybe Rosie O’ could even submit a question since she doesn’t have any other outlet…..

Rosie’s question:

Do you think that Elizabeth Hasselbeck is a BITCH and I’m so much prettier than that BITCH who BACKSTABBED ME LIKE A LITTLE BITCH!

BKennedy on July 23, 2007 at 1:54 PM