YouTubers blast CNN, Anderson Cooper over presidential debate

July 24, 2007

News:  I guess I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed in yesterday’s presidential debate co-sponsored by CNN and YouTube.  Just read all the negative comments on YouTube.

Here are just a few:

1.  “The worse thing that ever happened to CNN was when Ted Turner sold out to Time Warner. This was no debate. The questions were good, but Cooper/CNN did an injustice to the YTubers by marginalizing some candidates. This top tier/bottom tier labeling by the media hurts the discussion the public wants. It’s the public that decides who is the top candidate, not the media. CNN should stay out of the debates if it can’t do better.”

2.  “There was not equal time given to all, the only candidate who in my opinion spoke the truth (Sen. Gravel) was given very little time, Anderson Cooper,was as bad as Wolf Blitzer”

3.  “There was a CNN debate? You call that a debate. What ideas did we hear. On top of that, you did a great job of putting Mike Gravel in the corner and only asking him to respond on questions that were asked to him. Bias, no there is no bias. I bet $1,000,000 that Ron Paul will be on the end, who wants to bet against me??? ”

4.  “Why did CNN / YouTube bother to invite the other candidates? It seems the powers that be have made the decision for us.  Clinton, Edwards, and Obama keep preaching how things will change. But since the 2006 election all we have had is a lot of hot air, submision to Bush demands, and blaming the Republicans. Why should we trust either side?
Isn’t it time the independent parties put aside their differences and form a coalition. This may be the only way the people’s voice will ever be heard.”

5.  “Extremely disappointing!! It was a frikken Hillary-Obama show, the questions were obviously filtered and very weak reruns, so called non top-tier candidates get setup questions,, What else can I say?

Candidate, total exchanges, total words, average words per exchange:
Obama, 14, 2050, 146
Clinton, 12, 1794, 150
Edwards, 12, 1661, 138
Biden, 7, 1019, 146
Rich., 7, 910, 130
Dodd, 8, 1645, 206
Kucinich, 7, 985, 141
Gravel, 7, 580, 83”

6.  “We were VERY disappointed in the YouTube debate because, for the most part, the same old questions were asked for the most part. The war, education, Dafur and health care. There were several questions that were submitted to YouTube that have never been asked to a candidate in any debate, yet these questions were not chosen by CNN.”

7.  “Could have been so much better”

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Has Lonelygirl15 gotten out of control?

July 24, 2007

If anyone knows the plot to Lonelygirl15, can you please post a comment.  I’ve watched the recap videos, but they only go up to Episode 83 (of the 140).  I wish I understood what is going on with lonelygirl.  To get a sense of how convoluted the plot is, just listen to this next video:


How CNN botched the YouTube presidential debate

July 24, 2007

News: The first “experiment” is over. Today, we have time to reflect on what happened — and didn’t happen — in last night’s presidential debate for the Democratic candidates. As I said in my last post, I give CNN and YouTube an A for the idea of user-generated questions, but a C+ for the execution. Here’s what CNN messed up (although the Democratic Party and candidates may have been responsible for the format):

1. There was no opportunity for real debate or exchanges among candidates. The candidates had only 1 minute or 30 seconds to answer questions. No substantive question was asked of each of the candidates–meaning we never got the chance to compare all the candidates on a single question, even though many of the YouTube users posed their questions specifically to the entire group of candidates. For a 2 hour debate, that’s pretty appalling.

CNN, however, chose not to allow all the candidates a chance to answer. Sen. Dodd even expressed frustration at not having a chance to answer the important question about global warming. The only question that CNN posed to the entire group of candidates was the stupid last question in which the candidates were asked to say something they liked about the candidate on their left, and then something they didn’t like.  Are we back in 1st grade?

2. Anderson Cooper played favorites with the candidates and skipped over Senator Gravel. Sen. Mike Gravel protested not getting asked many questions compared to the other candidates repeatedly during the debate. By my count, Gravel got only 9 questions (often trivial ones), while Barack Obama got 19 questions. Don’t even include the guy on stage if you are not really going to include him in the debate.

3. CNN excluded all questions from children, but then included a question from a snowman. Cooper said that he thought the parents were using their children to ask their questions. So what? The guy who used the snowman got on CNN’s debate. Remember, from the mouth of babes.

4. CNN used only 11 questions from female questioners, but 28 questions from male questioners. OK, I don’t know the relative breakdown in the pool of 3,000 questions. But the disparity in questions between male and females was very noticeable to me.

5. Having follow up with 2 of the questioners live in the audience only wasted time. This really didn’t work. Anderson Cooper asked, “Did they answer your question?” One of the guys basically said he couldn’t hear the answer because someone next to him was making noise. The other guy used his follow up to say that he wanted to have the question asked of Hillary Clinton.

6. CNN chose some pretty gimmicky questions for laughs and even wasted more time showing questions not used for more laughs. CNN wasted precious time on videos shown to generate laughs–a snowman asking a question, a guy singing and asking for a pardon on his parking ticket, two country guys asking if the talk about Al Gore running for president hurt their feelings, the last question asking each candidate to say something good and bad about the person to the left. There probably were more, but you get the picture.

7. The 30-second campaign videos were nice, but took time away from the debate. I liked the campaign videos, but just have people go to YouTube to watch them. CNN shouldn’t take away precious time from the debate.


CNN-YouTube debate over — thankfully

July 24, 2007

News: After 2 hours, the debate is over. You can see all of the 39 video questions asked of the candidates here.

Analysis: I just did a BBC radio interview about the debate. I’ll try to get a link. CNN-YouTube get an A for the concept of user-generated questions. But I give them a C+ for execution. Hopefully, things will improve for the Republican debate.

The 1-minute and 30-second format for answers was far too restrictive, allowing very little interchange among the candidates, and most of the debate just looked and sounded like a conventional debate. And the parts that were unconventional were often gimmicky. YouTube’s Steve Grove, aka CitizenTube, probably could’ve done a better job than Anderson Cooper in moderating.

I don’t want to sound too negative because several of the questions from YouTubers were quite effective, particularly the ones that were just a little more personal.  The questions were different and, I believe, better than standard questions from journalists.  The questions were, for example, the minimum wage question from two young women, the gay marriage question from two lesbian women, the question from the pastor to John Edwards about the use of religion on the issue of gay marriage, the question from the parent who lost his son in Iraq, and the questions about health care from several people dealing with cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s.

[I’ll try to follow up with a fuller write-up.]