The YouTube Effect

This attack video against John McCain that's posted on YouTube is, I feel, incredibly effective. Imagine: this technology is available to so many. It's also not limited to 30 seconds, as is traditional for TV spots.



Michael Corcoran said...

Great catch Pat.

There will be plenty of vicious (and entertaning) attack ads on everybody. And many of them will be made by people without the resources to normally buy ads.

Chris said...

Ah, now that we've just rested after the 2006 elections we're warming up for 2008! One must remember that a video like this could probably be edited and published about any of the candidates. This will probably hurt McCain's reputation as a moderate Republican among younger voters. YouTube, for better or worse, affects our generation of voters in public opinion. It's a great medium but I wouldn't hail it as the new democracy. The internet is a powerful tool, but also a powerful diversion. Any corporation or political group could put videos on YouTube under the guise of "Average Joe or Jane."

This is a nice way to convey a message, but anything on the internet should be trusted no more than a Wikipedia entry.

Michael Corcoran said...

Absolutely Chris. This could in fact be very bad. There can be plenty of swiftboating and uses of patently false information on these videos.

But, I think its more of a plus than a negative. People, even those without much money, can respond to vicious attacks, dispell myths, and counter distortions. Yes they can create them, but it is far more democratic than having only those with enough money to buy ads (or media outlets), have a voice in the debate.

Also, I have to say that I take issue with your last paragraph on several levels.

" ...anything on the internet should be trusted no more than a wikipedia entry."

i take it you mean to be skeptical, which I of course agree with. But simply being "on the internet" does not make somethign less credible then somethign that is not.

The Swiftboat campaign was on TV. And read The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page a few times a week.

All things should be viewed skeptically, not things "on the internet."

And lastly, I am really tired of this trendy wikipedia bashing.

According to THE BBC (no, not according to Wikipedia):

"Wikipedia is about as good a source of accurate information as Britannica, the venerable standard-bearer of facts about the world around us, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature."

But still everyone -- be it professors, students, editors of newspapers/magazines -- insists on bashing it.

Its getting old. Clearly one would not cite wikipedia in an article, if only because it will change when a reader goes to check on it (although the history is still there, so it would't be terrible.

But wikipedia is a godsend. Arguably the website that I benifit from most, in terns of a starting point for information.

Moreover, as a wonderful New Yorker (7/31/06)article pointed out it has more than a million articles -- almost ten times as much as Encyclopedia Britiannica.

From the article:

Apparently, no traditional encyclopedia has ever suspected that someone might wonder about Sudoku or about prostitution in China. Or, for that matter, about Capgras delusion (the unnerving sensation that an impostor is sitting in for a close relative), the Boston molasses disaster, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, Bill Gates’s house, the forty-five-minute Anglo-Zanzibar War, or Islam in Iceland

That's it, I am going to write about this. You have inspired me. But damnit, this I am just about at my limit of hearing ilogical wikipedia bashing.

(oh and by the way, one of my fellow interns and I have done an experiment. We have slightly changed an entry to a well-known, but noncontroversial author, to see how long the information will stick -- I will let you know how long it takes for someone to fix it)