I haven’t had time to watch all or even most of the YouTube questions which candidates will answer, or seem to answer, in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate. But I’ve watched enough to worry.
The true democratizing promise of the Web, of course, is that in some ways it does (cliche alert) level that playing field, letting Average Joe and Jane have their say right along with Brian Williams and Tim Russert.
Unfortunately, if the videos I’ve seen are representative, many of these Average Joes and Janes are, to put it bluntly, wackos. Check out this Average Joe here with his question for the hopefuls. If his film gets picked for broadcast, we’ll find out if Hillary Clinton has a sense of humor.
For this “debate” to be anything but a 1,000-ring circus, those Old Media powers will have to exercise some of those Old Media disciplines like editorial judgment. Of course, if and when they screen out the most extreme voices (i.e., the “Bush ordered 9-11 bombings” crowd), that will set off another wave of protests.