I watched the YouTube debates. It’s great to see something new being done to raise interest and participation in the election process. People submit homemade video questions via YouTube. CNN selects which video questions to run. The questions are played, the candidates answer.
It’s an interesting shift in the balance of power. The questioner has more power than in past public “debates” because the questions are prepared in advance by people who know how to make one of these YouTube style videos. No longer do we have the quivering housewife from Iowa trying to ask a question without sounding disrepectful or appearing too nervous. YouTube questions hit harder.
I enjoyed watching Hillary squirm. Candidates are people that like power. YouTube debates strip away their power over the questioner.
It’s new and it’s remarkable. It’s also valuable. It also is 100% American. The questions come from from people doing poor impersonations, wearing costumes and generally hamming for the exposure. One question about global warming came from an animated snowball.
I suspect many of the video questions were chosen for the entertainment value of the video.
I’d change the format. Have a CNN screen the videos solely to filter out inappropriate material—remove videos with foul language, sexual overtones, etc. Then que up all the submitted videos and assign each a number. Give the candidates a list of numbers. When it’s their turn, they pick a number and that’s their question. After answering, they pick a fellow a candidate to answer the same question.
This reduces the emphasis on the entertainment value of the video question if all questions will be “selected” for use. And it takes away CNN’s ability to manipulate the flow toward any particular candidate.
I like the format. We should do everything we can to make them squirm. I want to see who can handle the pressure. I want to see who can think on their feet.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog.