Inane drivel

Comment: The title - "Inane drivel" - sums my view of the CNN Democratic Youtube debate last night. No I did not watch! Newsweek comments below:

Cancer patients, gay couples and snowmen: voters, not journalists, asked the questions at the CNN-YouTube debate. Was it a breakthrough for democracy or a publicity stunt?


CNN hyped the event heavily on its Web site, crowing in its recap that though the cable network "vetted the questions, it was the first time that a journalist or a professional has not dictated what is asked of the candidates. The control was solely in the voters' hands." Actually, the control was in Anderson Cooper's hands—a fact which rankled many dedicated YouTubers, who would have preferred that CNN air the most popular videos submitted. It was the telegenic young anchor who moderated the event, struggling to keep meandering candidates on topic. And it was Cooper, we are told, that led the initiative to whittle the 3,000 video submissions down to 25-30. Perhaps we should be grateful. The debate kicked off with a rundown of videos that didn't make the cut. A child asking about Social Security was clearly being coaxed and coached by her parents; a lady in a giant chicken suit was just too weird.

Still, some strange ones slipped through the gates. A pair of hammy hillbillies from Tennessee asked if all the will-he-or-won't-he over former vice president Al Gore's intention to run hurts the candidates' feelings; an animated snowman asked what the candidates planned to do about global warming ("a silly video on a serious topic," explained Cooper). But most of the questions were posted online in advance of the debate, giving candidates ample time to see what appeared to be at the forefront of voters' minds.

Comment: Questions may be viewed at Youtube. Search "CNN debate". I'm skipping this too!

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