Online Presidential Debates


Just one more example of how politics are utilizing and embracing new media. The first online presidential debates are coming our way, which take advantage of the available technology to allow candidates to be in different parts of the country for debate. I have nothing wrong with this -- it shouldn't take anything away from the format, which is already so stiff and unspontaneous that the real-life interaction in traditional debates may as well not exist. As I recall, the 2004 Democratic Party primary debate of about 9 candidates included one or two who were participating by video conference, and if that didn't cause any problems, I don't know why this would.

The debates are hosted by big names in the new media world: Yahoo, Slate, and the Huffington Post, and moderated by old-media Charlie Rose.

Most interesting would be how the candidates shape their statements given the format. The form seems to be targeting young people...such as us college students who live online but spend very little time watching live TV. Might the candidates gear their debate towards issues that will win over this young target audience? In other words, refusing to reinstate a draft might win over more of the audience than, say, talking about balancing the budget.