CNN and YouTube are pairing up to co-sponsor a debate among the eight Democratic presidential candidates on July 23 in South Carolina with questions posed "via video submitted by ordinary people through YouTube. Moderating
between the viewer and the candidates will be Anderson Cooper, the CNN
anchor," the New York Times reports.
The only weak link in that chain is Anderson Cooper; or that would appear to be the case as of right now. The details over how the video questions will be chosen have not yet been released, but if it’s up to the moderator or mainstream journalists, you can be sure that the clips chosen will not be among the most insightful nor hard-hitting of those submitted.
It’s a great idea in theory but in practice, CNN will not be choosing video that is likely to overly offend their television audience. And that’s a shame because it is usually the edgy videos that get right to the heart of the matter with a bluntness not to be found on among the DC political press corps.
Ideally, the videos would be chosen based on some type of rating system. YouTube has a built in stats system they could use; their most-veiwed, most commented, or most linked-to videos or some combination of them all.
Or they could run the videos through digg and use their community votes as the arbiter of debate questions.
Sure, either system can be gamed but you can bet each campaign will be gaming so that probably all washes out anyway.
It just seems that asking a social network to pose questions for a debate is rather pointless if you don’t also ask them which among their video questions should be posed to the candidates.