Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The "YouTube Debate"

I'm surprised that no one has yet asked the most important question about last night's debate on CNN: Did CNN ratings improve as a result of their incorporating "grass roots" questions submitted through YouTube? I know that is a cynical assessment; but, on the basis of yesterday's post, I strongly suspect that this is the only question that matters to the CNN bean counters. Meanwhile, for those who are interested in whether or not anything of substance occurred, I found John Nichols' blog post for The Notion to be one of the better summaries this morning. He did a good job of writing about voices that might not otherwise have been heard and the absence of other voices (such as Wolf Blitzer) who tended to provide more noise than signal. Nichols used the title of his post to identify those voices that he felt most deserved recognition: Bill Richardson (for the only intelligent comments about Darfur), Dennis Kucinich (for departing from everyone else by speaking in favor of gay marriage), and Mike Gravel (for trying to cut through much of the bull left on the stage by the other participants). Nevertheless, Nichols himself seems to agree with Gravel that any significant change is unlikely, no matter how much the surface trappings of political discourse may change to accommodate the Internet age.

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