It’s quite clear that then Internet and now online video have changed political marketing. Whether they have changed the nature of political discourse is another thing entirely. Indeed, people will be discussing whether last night’s YouTube-CNN Democratic presidential debate was a watershed moment for American politics or simply a novel mechanism to deliver questions “from the audience.” Yet the questions – although many were to be expected given the issues — and the way they were presented were unique and, many will agree, refreshing.
It’s also the case that this debate and the related videos and commentary will have a long afterlife that political debates have not had historically. Archiving of these questions and responses will allow millions of people who didn’t tune in to watch CNN to see the video. We’ve entered the era of “debates on demand.” I would also imagine that, given Google’s Universal Search and Ask 3D, we’ll start to see candidate debate clips and political videos appearing in search results over time. So when somebody searches on “Hilary Clinton, health care” there will likely be video (news content or produced video) in those search results.
Here are the questions on YouTube and the candidate responses, as well as YouTube community video responses. The most celebrated question of the evening (about global warming) was delivered by a snowman.
Here is the NY Times’ Katharine Q. Seelye’s blow-by-blow chronicle (with embedded video) of the debate with her editorial commentary.
A Republican version of the format is scheduled for broadcast on September 17. You can submit questions here.