Let’s Prepare For The Next YouTube Debate (Update: Accountability?)

The problem with last night’s debate didn’t have so much to do with the venue or the format, or even the use of questions through YouTube — but with the quality of those questions. As I wrote earlier, the questions selected had little substance, which allowed the candidates to use tired campaign talking points instead of talking about real issues.
After writing this, one CQ commenter reminded me that we have two months before the Republican YouTube/CNN debate, which will air from the key primary state of Florida. Teresa challenged me to get YouTube, CNN, and the candidates prepared for the debate by hosting our own contest for the CQ community — to produce intelligent, cogent YouTube video questions that will produce specific answers from our Republican candidates.
That sounds terrific to me! We’ll start immediately. Contestants can either post the YouTube code to the comments section here, or better yet, e-mail the code and a description of the video to this new e-mail address: youtube – at – captainsquartersblog.com. I’ll post them as we go along, and we’ll set the end of the contest for Labor Day. The top five will all get $20 Amazon gift certificates from CQ. I may contribute one or two of my own, but I’ll be ineligible for the prizes.
Let the video cameras roll! And let’s show YouTube and CNN how the New Media really works!
UPDATE: Juan Paxety notes in the comments that generating good questions may not be enough. YouTube had good questions, he said, but CNN overlooked them for the silliness they aired instead. Well, this makes it even more critical to put these together at the CQ community. If we produce substantive and entertaining questions that get passed over for inanities, then we will have the proof right on our site to demonstrate it.
It’s called accountability — and we’re glad to provide it.

11 thoughts on “Let’s Prepare For The Next YouTube Debate (Update: Accountability?)”

  1. If you looked through youtube in the weeks before the debate, you saw a lot of good questions. Trouble was, CNN didn’t pick them. So, the challenge for you will be to get CNN to pick questions that will prompt insightful answers – questions probably exceeding the intellectual capacity of the CNN staff.

  2. Captain Ed; don’t you mean ‘let’s ask questions that are designed to make the Republicans look good’?
    Do you really think that the Republican/Youtube debate will be any better. You’ll get Democrat shills trying to foil the Republicans just like you had Republican shills trying to foil the Democrats.
    And there were many cogent, important questions posted. I guess it just depends on how ‘liberal’ your interpretation was 🙂
    Did you note (and I personally disliike Clinton) Hillary’s questioning the changing meaning of the word ‘liberal’?
    Tom from Canada

  3. I have to be honest, Captain – I think that this project of yours is not going to work.
    The problem is that CNN is the ultimate judge on what questions are asked at their debates. We saw the results last night. It was a bunch of empty pap that will please the hard Left, but no one else.
    CNN has become the Pravda of the cable news services. CNN does little beyond rote recital of Democrat talking points, and that is all that they will ever do. They have a First Amendment right to do so, but they do not have the right to be taken seriously as a news organization. Why give them legitimacy by participating in a sham process?
    For that reason, I think that you are wasting your time. The better the questions that you and your readers come up with, the less likely CNN will use them. I predict that the questions that CNN ends up using in the Republican debate will merely be variations of the following: “Do you plan to stop beating your wife, raping your daughter, and eating human babies for breakfast while wearing white hoods and burning crosses?” Count on it.
    Actually, I do have a question: If the Fairness Doctrine becomes law, as President will you enforce the law equally against talk radio and MSM outlets like CNN, CBS, NBC, NPR, ABC, and MSNBC? That question (which will never make it past CNN’s censors) would cause a metaphysical lurch among the hard Left.

  4. As payback for the Michigan Militia guy with his “baby” ak-47 selected to represent gun owners – somebody PLEEZ make this video:
    Unshaven, unwashed, dilated pupils, pimply faced guy wearing flannel (think 80’s grunge Nirvana fan), walking down a street, slashing tires and pouring sugar into gas tanks on SUV’s, talking to the camera over his shoulder –
    “Look, some of us are really committed to saving this planet. -but the politicians are doing nothing! Nothing!”
    Stops – turns to the camera, eyes wide, pupils dilated, nostrils flaring, voice up an octave, pointing agrresively into the camera, yells:
    That should be entertaining enough.

  5. Why not sponser a bloggers’ GOP debate with video where the questions come from well regarded bloggers. It might not get the kind of exposure that a televised CNN debate gets but it might help me make up my mind in this upcoming primary. I have thought many of the questions from the already televised debates have been lame and not focused on the issues I think are important to our country. And, while the bloggers are at it, maybe it should be invitational and the lower tier not invited. I really feel I need a mano el mano between Rudy, McCain, Romney and Thompson. I would like questions to also reflect how they’d run their campaign against Hillary or Barack. I know our right side bloggers could do an amazing job.

  6. what got me about this was how trivial and banal it made the whole debate process look. It was a cross between a game show in feel and the academy awards. Nothing of substance whatsoever, and even if there was, it was nullified by the triteness of the presentation.
    While it may be funny to have some guy submit a question in the form of a song, this is not supposed to be teh equivalent of who had the funniest commercial at the superbowl.
    And if that’s what we’re to expect going forward (ie debates as entertaining fluff) then I can be far better entertained by watching the superbowl, a game show, the academy awards or even paint dry. Dennis Kucinic is just not that entertaining.
    Seriously, according to Dems FOX news is not a real news organization therefore they wont’ appear on debates, but CNN is? They’ll appear on this and answer dumb questions from hillbillies and guitar slinging idiots and this is supposed to be serious?
    Anderson Cooper should be embarassed that he put his name to such tripe. When he signed on to be a serious anchor did he know that it would entail him becoming a game show host?

  7. Well, since I was the inspiration for this challenge — something which may get me drummed out of the liberal Dem club 😉 — I have a further suggestion. I think CNN, like all stations, was looking for ratings rather than just ask serious questions when they picked which videos to use.
    I’d suggest making sure your video has a “hook”. If you are a doctor, wear scrubs and film it in the hospital. If you are a gun owner, film it at your local shooting range. If you want to ask about abortion, hold your newborn in your lap. I think CNN is looking for the human interest angle. Just you at your desk ain’t gonna cut it. Skip the snowman costume, though, it’s been done. 🙂

  8. 1. Name the policy or proposal advocated by John, Rudy, Fred or Mitt that you most disagree with.
    2. Do you believe global warming is mostly natural or man-made? If natural, how will you convince others. If man-made what do you proposal to change?
    3. Shouldn’t you be required to at least garner 3% support of voters to qualify for debates?
    4. What do you think of campaign finance reform that removes regulations and restrictions and simply requires full disclosure?
    5. Democrats have said Iranian nuclear weapons were unacceptable but often stop short of saying they would use military force. How would you convince them, if necessary, that the time for talk has ended and diplomacy has failed?

  9. My initial reaction was the same – it’s CNN. Not only is CNN not going to pick questions that will help GOP candidates separate themselves from the pack, but you can be virtually sure they will pick questions that will make them ALL look bad. Think “show of hands, who believes in evolution” or “have you stopped beating your wife yet ?”
    It sounds like a decent concept, but it would only be decent if, perhaps, the RNC selected the questions. Though even in that case, I would expect if the DNC (of which CNN is basically a satellite office) picked the questions, you would get the same softball, talking points questions you got the other night.

  10. It’s not on YouTube, but Radely Balko has a nice list of question, for candidates from either party. Granted, the questions are quite libertarianish, but they’re still excellent.
    (forgive me, my HTML is weak)
    Realistically, if you want to have an actual debate with the number of candidates both parties have at the moment, you have to limit the debate to a single topic if you want to hear more than talking points.
    I think an hour or two of nothing but, say, how to fix Social Security, would be interesting and show which candidates actually had serious ideas and which ones didn’t. But to most of America, it’d be mind numbing.
    The days of Lincoln-Douglas are long gone.

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