Presidential Debate On YouTube

CNN plans to stage a new sort of presidential debate, featuring questions submitted via YouTube.The news network and the video-sharing website announced this week that they would collaborate on two debates - the first on July 23 for Democratic candidates and the second on September 17 for Republicans.People can submit video questions through YouTube now, and CNN will sift through submissions to choose which ones to use.What remains unknown is whether the CNN/YouTube combination will amount to a mere gimmick or breathe life into the staid world of televised debates.CNN certainly thinks it's a good idea.
While YouTube remains best known for goofy videos of people doing rather stupid things, the site is a growing player in politics. Last year, the campaign of former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) was tainted when a video of him using the word "macaca" to describe a man of Indian descent showed up on YouTube. The New York Times, noting the Allen brouhaha, dubbed 2006 the "YouTube Election."Since then, YouTube has tried to lure more political junkies and candidates for office.
A sub-area, called YouChoose, is a repository for the videos of presidential candidates. Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, said 17 candidates are on YouChoose.YouTube also has a section called CitizenTube for videos from average folks.Twenty or 30 questions are likely to be used during the two-hour debates. A few YouTubers will get invitations to join the live audience as well.The July 23 Democratic debate is planned for Charleston, S.C. The Republican will be held in Florida at a location to be determined.Some might wish YouTubers could vote on which questions to pose. CNN, however, will retain that job. All submissions will be available on YouTube.YouTube already has started to build hype for the debates. An online video features Steve Grove, YouTube's editor of news and politics, and CNN anchor/star Anderson Cooper, who will serve as moderator.Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.